Maybe it's because I loved the game Mousetrap as a boy?
Maybe it's because I loved those old Rube Goldberg cartoons with their crazy series of contrivances all aimed at lighting a match or blowing out a candle.
Whatever the source of my fascination, it carried over into my technology lab. One of the stations in my lab was to work on the "Doo Dad Machine!" The machine was a 4 ft x 8 ft wire frame that hung on the wall covered with simple student made constructions. The final goal was to get a golf ball from one corner to the other. Each group was assigned a square foot of space in which they could do whatever they wanted as long as they moved the ball from point A to point B.
I had hoped that after being in the lab for a while and working with the different equipment and materials, my students would create the ultimate Rube Goldberg machine. It never quite panned out. Most of my kids thought it was a cool idea until they actually tried to build something. It was hard and required a lot of experimentation. In hind sight, maybe it was too hard. I needed to be able to give them more examples similar to the video I've linked to today.
I looked through all my snapshots and couldn't find a picture of one of the DooDad Machines we built. I'll keep looking and will post a picture when I find it. For posterity.
[Story Source: Makezine: Pitagora Suitch Devices: http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2008/01/pitagora_suitch_devices.html?CMP=OTC-0D6B48984890]
[Image: Captured from the video, Pythagoraswitch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0pAmVipomcA&eurl=http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2008/01/pitagora_suitch_devices.html?CMP=OTC-0D6B48984890]