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Not so Simple Machines


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Keywords: Simple Machines, Podcasting, Science
Subject(s): Physics, Science, Podcasting
Grades 6 through 8
School: Fairfield Area Middle School, Fairfield, PA
Planned By: Ellen Waggoner
Original Author: Ellen Waggoner, Fairfield
This is a culminating project to a unit on simple machines.

Task:
You are entering the "Not so Simple Machine Contest." With your partner, you are challenged to design an invention to make life easier. You want to solve a problem that will help your community complete tasks easier. Remember, before the wheel transporting objects depended on physical strength.

Design:
1. Decide on a problem.
2. Create a diagram showing your idea for a machine. You must label all parts and include a paragraph explaining your machine.
3. Upon teacher approval, create a prototype of your machine. Make sure to test your machine several times. If your machine fails to work in the manner you were hoping that just means you have the opportunity to try again!

Explain:
1. Write the steps on how your machine was built. Use pictures if necessary.
2. Record your group assembling the invention and using the product.

Market:
1. Make a commercial promoting your invention.
Decide on an appropriate sales approach.
Write dialogue for commercial.
Oral practice for clear, fluent, and expressive speech.
Record podcast.
2. Create a digital presentation to showcase your work.
Storyboard for slides/pictures.
Upload pictures if necessary.
Build presentation as a powerpoint or photostory.
3. Present projects to class and community.
Broadcast podcast on school website and/or blog.
Two-three sentence summary of idea to add to class blog.

Extension:
Create an online poll for students, teachers, and parents to vote for the product they would buy. Have students keep a spreadsheet of products 'sold' based on poll results. Transfer spreadsheet into graphs.

Debrief:
1. Which product was most popular? Why?
2. What were challenges in designing your machine?
3. What would you change if you could do this again?
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
In English class, students write expository essays explaining building process and how to use machine.
In English or Social Studies, students research a famous inventor. Write a report about the life and inventions of this person as well as creating a class timeline of inventions.
Materials: Mobile Labs, Point and Shoot, Portable, Digital Voice Recorders, Flash/USB Drives, Podcasting