Sunday, March 4, 2012

Simple Machines

My 5th grade art classes have been working on a simple machine project for a few weeks now.  The assignment is to use at least 4 simple machines (a pulley, lever, fulcrum, inclined plane, wedge, wheel and axle, and/or screw) to propel or roll a marble.  There are 5 groups of 4 working together.  The group that sends the marble the furthest wins.  I've been largely staying out of their creative process.  I told them they had to make a plan first, then follow the plan as closely as possible.  If they wanted to change parts of it they all had to agree.  Working as a group is not their strongest quality.  There has been a lot of arguing.  I'm curious as to how these will turn out.  Some of them are looking interesting.  Whether they will work or meet all the requirements is another story.

My dilemma is do I help them more or let them figure it out.  Some of them are on the wrong track and I've been giving hints as to whether I think something is just not going to work.  The thing is one group tested their contraption out and it almost worked.  It sent the marble almost straight up but that was a start.  Now they are excited and working on some slight changes to send it off at more of an angle.  These are just a few pictures I managed to take while dodging flying marbles, lol.


  1. I always had a tough time with group projects. I like to work independently and because of this, it seemed that I always ended up carrying most of the workload for fear of someone screwing up or doing something that wasn't to my liking. At that age though, it's always fun to see how different types of students interact with one another. Looks like a neat project!

  2. pretty complicated, I wish my teachers in that grade did more than a 2D version of art