The Whitney Relay

Eli Whitney Museum

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For School Groups


The Whitney Relay is a set of interconnectable parts that lets students master the art and science of energy transfer in the tradition of the Rube Goldberg Machine or its contemporary Japanese masterpiece: the Pythagoras Switch. Each student receives 5 ramps, 8 marbles, 6 blocks, and assorted parts to construct a chain reaction that could include your whole class. Thoughtful lessons in mechanics, invention and teamwork.

Meets Connecticut Science Standards

  • 6.4: Water moving across and through earth materials carries with it the products of human activities.
  • 7.1: Energy provides the ability to do work and can exist in many forms.
  • 8.1: An object’s inertia causes it to continue moving the way it is moving unless it is acted upon by a force to change its motion.

Meets Common Core Standards

  • MS-PS2: Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions

Meets Next Generation Science Standards

  • MS-PS2: Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions:
  • MS-PS3-2: Develop a model to describe that when the arrangement of objects interacting at a distance changes, different amounts of potential energy are stored in the system.
  • 3-5-ETS1-1: Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.

Pythagoras Switch

Leonardo DaVinci

Rube Goldberg

And more...

Honda's "The Cog"

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The Way Things Go

You may also be interested in The Melancholy Puff Machine by former Eli Whitney Museum apprentice, Jen Oxley.

Whitney Relay 2019

The Whitney Relay

The Whitney Relay

Download 3-5 WR Prog Info rev 9.1.08.pdf (pdf, 67.6kb)
Download 3-5 WR Teach Mat rev 9.1.08.pdf (pdf, 82.7kb)
Download 3-5 WR Stu Mat rev 9.1.08.pdf (pdf, 96.4kb)
Download 6-8 WR Prog Info rev 9.1.08.pdf (pdf, 70.9kb)
Download 6-8 WR Teach Mat rev 9.1.08.pdf (pdf, 59.9kb)

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