Just to date myself, two of my favourite science maker pieces of software are “The Incredible Machine” and “Sid and Al’s Incredible Toons“. Sierra Software was the developer of the products back in the 1990s. They were engaging and based upon good solid problem solving and an understanding of simple machines. I’m sure either by accident or design (I’m betting design) they were based upon Rube Goldberg’s machines. Now, if you go back far enough to remember Rube Goldberg’s originals then you’re dating yourself as well as me.
I remember looking forward to the latest machine thinking that it made so much sense if you really thought through it. Of course, I enjoyed playing “Mouse Trap” as well.
As much fun as these things were to play, there was good solid education behind them. Science, problem solving, thinking new possibilities, …
The Museum of Science and Industry has placed a wonderful modern version online. It’s called “Simple Machines” and it is just as engaging and lots of fun!
The goal is to help your little robotic friend solve various puzzles. Solve the puzzle by making smart choices and understanding the science of what you’re asking it to do. Upon solving the puzzle, there’s a little tutorial about just what it was that you did and why it worked.
If you’re looking for a computer activity for your unit dealing with simple machines or want to send home a worthwhile activity for students, you can’t miss with this!