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published by the Lemelson Center of the Smithsonian
Invent a machine! Choose the parts and position them to make a Rube Goldberg machine to get a ball to land in a cup.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Other Sciences
- Engineering
- Informal Education
- Middle School
- Instructional Material
= Activity
Intended Users Formats Ratings
- Learners
- application/flash
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Access Rights: Free access
Restriction: © 2003 National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution
Has a copyright or other licensing restriction.
Keyword: mechanical activities
Record Creator: Metadata Instance Creation Date November 21, 2003 by Kyle Whipple
Record Updated: May 06, 2004 by Bruce Mason
Other Collections:
Tinker Ball (Editor: Lemelson Center of the Smithsonian)
Date: 06/01/2004

In this captivating simulation, a tennis ball rolls off a ramp. The user is challenged to arrange objects in this space to build a Rube Goldberg machine that will drop the ball gently into a cup on the floor. Sound effects add to the enjoyment of watching the motion.

As an introduction to invention, this site is great! Changing a design is quick and easy, to encourage lots of messing around, and there are enough objects, with some in pairs, that many different solutions are possible. The ease of repetition also encourages users to build a system by focusing on only one part at a time or by building subsystems. The only drawback is that the simulation can get stuck, requiring the user to start over, from scratch.

Some of the physics is incorrect, e.g. springs that add energy to the bouncing ball. Nevertheless, it might be a useful exercise for students to try out the simulation and then comment on the physics.

ComPADRE is beta testing Citation Styles!

Record Link
AIP Format
(Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, Washington, 2003), WWW Document, (http://inventionatplay.org/playhouse_tinker.html).
AJP/PRST-PER
Tinker Ball (Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, Washington, 2003), <http://inventionatplay.org/playhouse_tinker.html>.
APA Format
Tinker Ball. (2003). Retrieved July 29, 2014, from Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation: http://inventionatplay.org/playhouse_tinker.html
Chicago Format
Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation. Tinker Ball. Washington: Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, 2003. http://inventionatplay.org/playhouse_tinker.html (accessed 29 July 2014).
MLA Format
Tinker Ball. Washington: Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, 2003. 29 July 2014 <http://inventionatplay.org/playhouse_tinker.html>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Title = {Tinker Ball}, Publisher = {Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation}, Volume = {2014}, Number = {29 July 2014}, Year = {2003} }
Refer Export Format

%T Tinker Ball
%D 2003
%I Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation
%C Washington
%U http://inventionatplay.org/playhouse_tinker.html
%O application/flash

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source
%D 2003
%T Tinker Ball
%I Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation
%V 2014
%N 29 July 2014
%9 application/flash
%U http://inventionatplay.org/playhouse_tinker.html


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Citation Source Information

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