Metaphor Machines

How revolutions, complicated structures and hot glue became PLP 9 exhibition project.

Welcome too (imagine a drumroll)……

METAPHOR MACHINES. The grade 9 PLP exhibition project combined filmmaking (from maker), revolutions, and Rube Goldberg machines into a project none of us will ever forget. Split into groups and assigned revolution we were given the task of researching our revolution and then using métaphores to create a Rube Goldberg machine.

Group projects… love them or hate them we all have to do them at some point in our lives. A group can make or break a project (literally our machine broke multiple times because of fighting). But what was that machine? Why were we building a machine in our humanities class? Why were they fighting (please let me know if you have an answer to this one I can’t seem to figure out why they thought being physical was going to solve anything).


Rube Goldberg machines are machines that complete a very simple task ( turning on a light, ringing a bell etc.) in a very complicated way. These are usually made of household objects that you can find anywhere. Some are cool (especially when they work). Making Rube Goldbergs takes a lot of perseverance, they rarely work the first time and it can take a while to get it to work every time. But how does this relate to the French Revolution????

Before I get to that let’s take a look at the French Revolution. First things first I’m glad I wasn’t there. It was a very chaotic and bloody period which inspired many other revolutions (check out my classmates Izzy, Kennedy, Kai, Baz, Quinn and Aiden’s blog posts for more information on those.)
We learned about these revolutions through Crane’s theory of a revolution. He thought that all revolutions work in about the same way with different ways that each one shows up. To learn more about this take a look at my explanation of cranes theory (I used the recycling process as a metaphor) and my infographic about the French Revolution.

So we took these revolutions and after learning about them, Rube Goldberg machines and metaphors we were tasked with making blueprints for our revolutions that were metaphors for our revolutions in Rube Goldberg form.
Here’s mine

Then after we got into groups we collaborated and made blueprints for the the machines we were going to be building. First, we picked the most important events to include and then we brainstormed metaphors for all of them. Side note these were going to be MASSIVE, like 2x2ms.Then we got to building which I’ll talk more about in the maker portion

At the start, we were only building in maker, and it was going… slowly. When you have 8 people working together on the same thing no matter how big it is, communication is really hard. Everyone had their ideas about how it would look and how they were going to build their part. As the team manager, it was my job to keep everyone working together. If I described the building process in three words it would be this: frustrating, eye-opening and satisfying. TIP TO THOSE WHO DO THIS PROJECT NEXT: you need way more hot glue than you think and stick to your plan.
Throughout this whole process, we were documenting these whole this to make a documentary that goes into the building process a bit deeper.

Exhibition night.
My feet hurt just thinking about this. Here are my top 3 learning moments from the day of the exhibition

1. Accepting that it wasn’t going to work and that that was ok. Our teacher Ms. McWilliam is always telling us to look at the forest instead of the trees, the bigger picture. I realized about halfway through the evening that it wasn’t going to work and I was surprisingly ok with that because this project wasn’t about Rube Goldberg machines, not really. It’s about change and understanding that change. Though it didn’t work, I still learned a lot about the French Revolution and film making and teamwork.

2. WOW I learned a lot. When people asked about the revolution I shocked myself at how much I knew. I could completely explain our revolution without a script or notes.
3. We’re still a team. I won’t lie our team had rocky patches. But we were all in it together. During the exhibition, we felt like a team instead of the group we had been in before that. (Learn more about the difference between these 2 things in my Loon Lake reflective post)

Loon Lake, The Place I Became the Little Mermaid

So, through all of this, I finally have an answer to the driving question of this whole project (which as I write this was introduced about 3 and half months ago)

How do ideas drive change?

A single idea can catch fire and ignite an entire revolution. When French people heard of the revolution in America they started their own, and they then inspired Haiti. Change is constant we cannot escape it just as we cannot escape ideas. They will be with us wherever we go. The French Revolution is an example of how when we think for ourselves instead of just going along with what we are told, we can change the world for better or for worse.

See you next time!

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