Line of inquiry: How do we work together? Does school prepare us for working in different kinds of situations?
Grade range: 9-12
Group size: Groups of 5-6 and a machine maker. The rest of the class can be the audience, or the facilitator can divide the class into machines
Materials: Room in which to move
Time: 20-60 minutes
Skills: Critical thinking skills, communication, cooperation
Space: Any classroom with some space in the front or center for 5 or 6 people to move.
Directions: Facilitator will proclaim to be a master machine builder and ask for a volunteer. That student will be given a small repetitive movement and a sound such as moving one arm up and down and saying beep. The facilitator will continue to create movement and sounds for each of the other students until 5 or 6 students have created a machine. Each student must be touching or interacting with one other student, who doesn’t have to be interacting back. The facilitator will make the machine work hard, work slow, and ultimately break down. Other students can become the machine builder. The game can go on until all of the students have had a chance to be part of a machine. Groups of students can work simultaneously and can have a little extra time to prepare their machine before they present it to the class.
Deliver the Challenge: The group with the best working machine wins.
Extensions: Students can provide a purpose and a background for their machine, apply for a patent, and create a market.
Reflection: How did the students have to work both individually and collaboratively to make the machine work? How much of a role did the machine maker play in the success of the machine? How much depended on the machine and its parts?
Notes: Some students may be shy about participating, encourage everyone to get involved.