Saturday, May 17, 2014

Another Trial Run (Rube Goldberg)

Trial and Error (Rube Goldberg)

Here is a quick video of one group working on their Rube Goldberg.

More on Rube Goldberg

Friday afternoon, we had another opportunity to Skype. This time, we had a Skype session with David Fox, the maker of an app called Rube Works. We often used this app in preparation of building our Rube Goldberg inventions. David Fox talked about what goes into building an app. We were amazed at the amount of post-work that goes into an app such as revising the app as bugs become apparent. 

We also took some time to reflect on what we have been accomplishing the last couple of days with each group's Rube Goldberg invention. I have to admit that not much had gone on the last few days but Friday seemed to be the day where every group hit their stride. Each group was to focus on getting two of their steps built, when in fact, each group probably built 3 or 4 of their steps. I have included a couple of pictures and will post a few clips of students running their invention. 

One of the things students are really focusing on is NOT get frustrated when their machines don't work out the way they want them to. While some frustration can often push your thinking, too much frustration can cause a filter in which information has difficulty reaching the brain. And at this point, not much is going to make sense. This project has really demonstrated the importance of trial and error, observing what works and making adjustments when things don't quite work.

Here is another one of our favorite Rube Goldberg videos.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Latest News . . .

Mrs. Brutto wanted to let parents know that next week, Wednesday, May 21 at 8:30 am, will be the 4th and 5th grade music show. All parents are invited to attend this special event.

We have been coming along with our Rube Goldberg study and today we have begun hashing out the specifics for our project. All Rube Goldberg machines must have a minimum of 10 steps, must contain at least 5 simple machines (3 different simple machines), and will be no bigger than one of our classroom tables. Each group will also be expected to discuss the directions for their machine and explain the force and motion behind the various steps. Each Rube Goldberg should be made of everyday items and have some element of humor. Several groups are using a theme for their machine.

Students have begun planning and sketching out their designs; a few students have begun bringing in supplies. Each group has created a materials list of what is available in the classroom (Legos, Tinker Toys, CoinStruction, Snap Circuits, etc.). But students can bring in any items from home as long as they have your approval. As we work through these projects, I'll post pictures of student's progress. In the meantime, here is a picture of our Skype session with Rube Goldberg's grand daughter.

The date this project is due is by the end of the day, Wednesday, May 28th. We hope to have a share fair of their project the next day, Thursday, May 29th. We don't have a time yet. Then Friday, May 30th, we will have our final 5th grade gathering.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Rube Goldberg Project

Now that the end of the year is quickly approaching, I wanted to share with you our last project. Instead of doing the house project, we decided to begin a project that would be meaningful to us. You may have heard from your child by now but we have been studying Rube Goldberg. Rube Goldberg is a person and an adjective. Let me explain. Rube Goldberg was a Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist who wrote in a variety of genres between the early 1900's until his death in 1970. He wrote songs, wrote the screenplay for the Three Stooges first movie, drew political cartoons, and comic strips. It was the comic strips of his inventions which made him well known (see this website for examples of his cartoons). It is for this reason, Rube Goldberg is also an adjective in the dictionary used to describe any complex machine used to solve a simple problem. One of the best examples is this OK Go's Rube Goldberg video for their song "This Too Shall Pass."

As part of our study of Rube Goldberg, we have been studying who Rube Goldberg was. This will include a Skype session with Rube Goldberg's grand daughter on Tuesday. She will share with us information about her grandfather, his art, and his comic inventions. We will also be looking at his political cartoons since many of these cartoons deal with WWII and post-WWII. We have also been playing with a Rube Goldberg app on our iPads which have introduced us to a variety of Rube Goldberg inventions, comics, and various trivia. Student have been absolutely addicted to this app - it is very well designed and provides a mix of information and entertainment. On Friday, we will be Skyping with the creator of this app. Later this week, each group will begin sketching out and planning to build their Rube Goldberg invention. Our task is to shoot a rubber band. As a class we will begin hashing out the specific details of the inventions before we begin building our actual Rube Goldberg inventions. If we discover we need some additional assistance, we will let everyone know.