“Okay, if I pull this string, the wedge holding the ball will let loose, then the ball will roll down the inclined plane, falling on the scissors that cuts the string holding the weight up, popping the balloon!”

The 8th grade students of Bruce M. Whittier Middle School all have been building our science projects for the last two weeks. Our assignments? Rube Goldberg contraptions. If you aren’t familiar with Rube Goldberg contraptions, they are basically elaborate and complex machines that perform simple tasks, such as pouring a glass of water. The ending tasks vary from popping balloons to blowing bubbles, everyone has original ideas. My group is aiming towards setting off a toaster to make us some waffles! We use supplies that have been gathered over the years as well as some that we brought in to make the contraptions. Everyone also has access to the Technology Education lab, or wood shop.

I asked Mr. Andy Wilbur, the science teacher for the 8th grade, what the reason for picking this project was. He told me that this project “is an approach to studying physics that is hands on, allows for student choice and creativity, and encourages students to develop problem solving skills. This project also incorporates math, technology, language arts, and even art skills.” I know that I have had a great time with the project so far, and I expect it to continue to be entertaining and help me with solving future problems.

My fellow classmate, Celeste Knowles also enjoys the Rube Goldberg assignment. She says, “This project is a good chance to try to get along with each other and figure out problems with our group members. In our group, we got in arguments a lot, and we had to sort them out on our own.”

A lot of positive experiences are going to result from this project. There will be newfound problem solving skills, co-operational skills, all kinds of skills that we can use in the future. I am really glad that we are able to learn with our hands and figure out problems for ourselves. Using our own minds to find resources and fix problems will help us prepare for high school and even the real world.

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