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Teachers can use Pettson's Inventions as part of their regular science instruction, particularly when that instruction relates to basic physics and engineering concepts. Go through a few puzzles with the class as a whole, challenging students to work together to complete the tasks. Kids could also work in small groups or individually, racing to see who solves the challenge first. The quirky contraptions could also be a way to inspire kids to come up with their own, real-life inventions. Take the learning offline with some hands-on building.Continue reading Show less
Pettson's Inventions challenges kids to help Pettson and his cat, Findus, build 27 different zany inventions using traditional items such as cogwheels and rubber bands, and less traditional items such as pinwheels and little green monsters. Pettson introduces a problem, and kids solve it by dragging and dropping items to build a contraption. For example, Pettson says "Help the bird take a shower," and kids place a weight over an elephant so that when it drops it'll squeeze air out of the elephant's trunk with enough force to power a pinwheel, which in turn, pumps water for the bird's shower. As kids successfully complete tasks, Pettson offers praise, kids earn a gear, and new puzzles unlock.
The scenarios in Pettson's Inventions may seem a bit odd and the materials a bit unconventional, but the zaniness helps increase the learning potential. While the game may not state outright that it wants students to learn about physics and engineering, it incorporates scientific principles in every task. For example, kids may use a stick with a hand attached to it to push a snowball down a ramp and set off a chain reaction of events, or they may connect a balloon to a fire-breathing lizard to help move it closer to the fan that will blow the fire closer to the fuse of a rocket. Kids build key problem-solving skills and a wealth of examples to reference when it comes to learning more specific science concepts.
Key Standards Supported
Apply scientific ideas to design, test, and refine a device that converts energy from one form to another.
Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.
Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
Ask questions, make observations, and gather information about a situation people want to change to define a simple problem that can be solved through the development of a new or improved object or tool.
Develop a simple sketch, drawing, or physical model to illustrate how the shape of an object helps it function as needed to solve a given problem.
Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions
Support an argument that the gravitational force exerted by Earth on objects is directed down.