Happy New Year!
It was so great to be back in the classroom with all of the young scientists! Today the class learned about the six fundamental simple machines: (1) the inclined plane, (2) the wedge, (3) the screw, (4) the lever, (5) the wheel and axle, and (6) the pulley. We learned that any mechanical device is made up of one or more of these simple machines. For example, a bike is a conglomeration of wheels and axles, pulleys, and levers. In fact, any mechanism that is made of more than one simple machine is by definition a complex (or compound) machine. We noted that “complex” does not automatically mean “complicated;” an axe is a complex machine because it is a wedge plus a lever, but no one would claim that an axe is a complicated mechanical device.
We took what we learned about simple machines and used a combination of simple machines to design and build two-step (and in some cases three!) Rube Goldberg devices designed to ring a bell. Teams used supplies provided by the Scientists along with their own desks to create some crazy, bell-ringing machines!
Here’s a fun Rube Goldberg video to watch at home!
Dr. Sahr and Dr. Pearl