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On its own, Contraption Maker is a wonderfully entertaining game. At this point, the game lacks any structured curriculum or lesson tools. So for now, teachers will find that any subject that requires problem-solving, understanding of cause and effect, and systems thinking can use this game to bring those points home. Whether bringing up examples in class and having students talk through possible solutions, or having kids play as a means to opening conversations about more serious types of systems and problems, Contraption Maker is a great way to get kids talking and thinking, and to cement learning through experience.Continue reading Show less
Contraption Maker brings Rube Golberg machines to life as players take on the role of wacky engineers. If you don't recognize the name Rube Goldberg, you do know the machines: collections of random parts cobbled together to perform simple tasks in the least efficient manner possible.
In Contraption Maker, pre-built machines with a few parts missing challenge players to repair a chain of actions to reach a goal, maybe trapping a mouse or freeing a balloon. Inserting gears, ropes, light switches, and generators, positioning laser beams and mirrors, as well as using the classic spring-loaded white-gloved finger, players get the machine working and then enjoy watching the cascade of actions achieve their goal. With more than 200 parts, the variety of built-in puzzles range from simple tutorial challenges to advanced brain teasers. When the included puzzles run out, players can design their own machines and share them with a growing online community of contraption makers.
After playing with Contraption Maker for a while, most players will find it so much fun, they won't even wonder about its educational aspects. But the developers have education in mind. As the sequel to the wildly popular Incredible Machine, this game follows the idea that giving players complex problems in an easy-to-understand and amusing package is a great way to lead with engagement and follow with learning.
Whether augmenting lessons on cause and effect, sequences of action, problem-solving, or systems thinking, the game serves as an amazing playground of possibility. Underneath the jack-in-the-boxes, bouncy balls, cannons, and hamster-powered light bulbs beats the heart of science. This game knows it's fun and never forgets that solving problems doesn't have to be dull.
Key Standards Supported
Integrate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text with a version of that information expressed visually (e.g., in a flowchart, diagram, model, graph, or table).
Compare and contrast the information gained from experiments, simulations, video, or multimedia sources with that gained from reading a text on the same topic.
Key Standards Supported
Apply scientific ideas to design, test, and refine a device that converts energy from one form to another.
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.
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
Plan and conduct an investigation to provide evidence of the effects of balanced and unbalanced forces on the motion of an object.
Make observations and/or measurements of an object’s motion to provide evidence that a pattern can be used to predict future motion.
Plan and conduct an investigation to compare the effects of different strengths or different directions of pushes and pulls on the motion of an object.
Analyze data to determine if a design solution works as intended to change the speed or direction of an object with a push or a pull.