Goldberg Physics

In a stack of papers called Instruction.

  • Aug
  • 27
  • 2007

In my sophomore year, a partner and I had to predict how far away from the table a steel bearing would land after it rushed down a balsa wood ramp. You need to be able to do this if you want a steel bearing to be the first in a sequence of events that will end up, say, knocking a glass of water on your face so you wake up in the morning.

Rube Goldberg machineThere’s got to be a way to use Rube Goldberg in a science class. Pythagora Switch is nine minutes of Goldberg-type machines. With a video that long, there’s surely one machine demonstrating a concept covered in your class. Maybe:

  • students graph one of the machines somehow;
  • students find the one machine with the greatest… something;
  • students describe the purpose of each piece of a machine;
  • students find the part of a machine that slows down the ball the most;
  • this serves as an introduction to vectors or other pieces of physics goodness;
  • one segment provides an example of a similar machine students will build.

I’ve already ran this through Zamzar and here’s a QuickTime version (16MB) all ready for you. That way, you don’t need to worry about that pesky campus YouTube filter.

Download YouTube

Though I’ll mention this in a later entry, Mashable put together a nice list of ways to download YouTube videos. Don’t let the district internet filter stop you. Download the video to your computer and put it on a projector. You could even put the video on a Blogger page, ’cause they allow that now. That way, you can create your own video site that all students have access to, from home and in your classroom.

See Pythagora Switch

If you’re at school, you won’t be able to see what follows. If you’re at home, you can see the video right here:

Even hanging out with some friends on a Wednesday night can turn into a blog entry about teaching.

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