We Made a Light Turn On!

Hello everyone and welcome back to another blog post. For the past little bit we have been working on a Scimatics project called metaphor machines. We had to make a Rube Goldberg machine that included a parallel and electrical circuit. I really like this project because I got to learn more about electrical circuits, which is something I really enjoy learning about and I had no Idea what a Rube Goldberg machine was, so that was super cool to learn about. You can see what I learned and what I knew already in my Project MindMap

Beginning Steps

As per usual, we started off the project with a Project Start MindMap. This is always a helpful step in a project, so you can see where you are on a topic, what you know, and what your interested in learning more about. At the end of the project you can add what you’ve learned, answer your questions and review what you learned. You can see this in my MindMap:

Next, we looked into Rube Goldberg machines and what they can do. We did a small experiment with this, called Junkyard Wars. We had an assortment of school, office and other random supplies and where assigned to draft and make a Rube Goldberg machine. This was a helpful and fun activity because it introduced us to the functions of a machine like this, and the steps you can take to build it. Ours turned out “dysfunctional” to say in short. It didn’t really work without assistance:


Next step in our path to masters of electricity was an electricity lab. This was crucial in getting some field knowledge on how to set up and wire a circuit, so we had actual experience of making circuits. This  is where we first applied our knowledge. We had a couple template circuits to replicate. We did a second and third part of this lab, for maximum field experience. They where very similar.

Building Further Knowledge

After these experiments, we went back to the textbooks. This is the more boring and dense part of the project, but I really enjoy the subject which makes it more tolerable. With some more technical knowledge of circuitry we could start doing some individual drafting of what we might want for our final Rube Goldberg machine and the circuit attached to it. All our work thus far had been individual (aside from the labs) so when our group (Ben, Alfie, Zach and I) combined our drafts, it put the collaborative part of the project into motion.

This blueprint helped us organize ourselves as a team and gave a good sense of what some people where more adept at.

The Big Kahuna

Our “last” step in this big ball of electrical wires was putting together our big, final Machine. I say “last” because we almost always do a summative blog post like this one, to demonstrate that we where actually paying attention in class”. So, how do you even start the process of making a machine like this? Luckily we already knew what to do from our Junkyard Wars assignment. We started drafting right away. We scribbled, measured and erased for a good class and a half, before we got to gathering wood and other supplies. 

Oh gosh, where are my manners. The whole point of this madness is to show the scientific method through this machine. The steps and process of the scientific method, help a scientist, (or random guy like me) figure out how to run a test, theory or whatever else you may call it. I’ll let our video explain this more in depth.

After drafting our machine, and deciding how to portray the scientific method, we got chopping , glueing and testing. We worked for 3 or 4 classes to build and test our machine until it worked, this took a lot of patience and trial and error. We finally got it to work most of the time, and recorded it for the last step. The last step was making a short video to explain you machine and show it in action:


Curricular Competencies

Questioning and predicting:

I think I did decent on this competency. Even though I was working with my good friends and I had good friends sitting around me, I was still very productive. I think that I could have done better on this by really making sure I was maximizing my class time work, but overall I really think that I did a pretty good job managing my time.

Reasoning and analyzing:

For this I feel like we as a group did pretty well. We all helped to make our finished product and video. We thought out our machine before we jumped in and built it (which was very tempting to do). I worked hard on the textbooks and tried to full understand to topics before starting my drafting.

Planing and Conducting

We spent a lot of time working on our draft and trying to get precise measurements before actually glueing and cutting things. What I found helped is that some of the group worked on the paper blueprint, and some of the group worked on gathering things we need, and planing out how much of things we where going to need

Scientific communication

I think that we had a very cool video. We had different shots and angles of our machine working. With the video style, we were able to highlight different parts of the machine that we were really proud of. We also evenly divided up the talking for explaining the scientific method.

All in all this project was kind of a mess, which I am a total sucker for. I kind of thrive in chaos. I enjoyed every aspect of this project, the reading, testing and planning.

Thanks for reading. Bye!

Leave a Reply

Skip to toolbar