School Programs

Eli Whitney Museum

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House of Straw, Sticks or Bricks

Construct a basic shelter. Choose walls and roof. Consider what materials are available where. Build a family. Consider the problems your walls will protect them from: rain, snow, heat, fire, winds, floods, mice, bugs or wolves.

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Block Heads

We build to discover ourselves. Common arms, legs, heads and feet can be shaped, assembled and decorated to create the infinite variety that we are. Blockheads can tell stories, reenact history, represent heroes, display the costumes of distant lands or unleash imagination. A universal tool for learning.

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Machine Design: The Vocabulary of Motion

A basic vocabulary of movements controls every mechanical device. Leonardo daVinci identified and drew the most important of these. Learn one of three classic arrangements to control the direction, speed and shape of movement. Invent an artful application for your device. Then, connect yours to someone else's machine and let them work together with a set or series of pulleys to combine movement and meaning.

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The Whitney Relay

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.

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Simple Machines

Whitney demonstrated the power of machines to guide and ease work. The screws, threads, levers and pulleys of this machine organize effort into power you can feel. Students assemble interchangeable parts and invent a personality for their machine.

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Hill Quest

Wheels, axles, chassis parts, connectors and rubber bands are the basic components of each kit that allows students to construct cars that sprint or creep to the top of a wooden ramp…jousting with another student’s car. Challenge: Beat your opponent to the top of the three foot ramp and hold your ground. The project tests all the dynamics of Force and Motion and tests planning and problem solving.

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Vibrocraft

Build a vibrating motor block that will drive the Vibrocraft scampering around the room. Experiment with different kinds of 'feet' to discover just which work best for the desired results. An introduction to the art of experiment. Begin to understand friction and get some control.

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Flying Pulleys

Sometimes you have to strip away all the non-essential parts to see an idea at work. Neil Downie proposes a clever study of the exchange of speed for force. A second array of pulleys float between input pulleys and the output pulley. An elegant display of force in motion.

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Dynabrolly: Waves

Looking at wave forms at different speeds and the effect of weight, air friction and gravity. As the speed changes, see the different number of waves traveling around the edge of the cloth.

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Bridges

Bridges are a natural laboratory of engineering: they test the strength of materials and the durability, connections, patterns of distributing loads, shifting loads and environments. Construct model bridges that help you identify the many challenges that bridges must master.

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Simple Machine Catapult

When you build a catapult with three simple machines as part of the design (lever, pulley, screw), you add multiple levels of complexity to an already elegantly conceived machine. Adjust trajectory, control trigger mechanism and launch ping pong balls with more thoughtful plans than just point and release.

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Dexterity Games

More than a century ago Mark Twain marveled that, surrounded by a world of inventions, children devoted their time to games: handheld marble games, to be specific. Those games still appeal. Design a game with it’s beginning middles and end. Hammer in pegs. Stretch a web of rubber bands. Play. One marble is not a challenge. Three marbles become a game.

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Drawing Machine 2017

Build a remarkable drawing machine from 1913 adapted by Senior Apprentice Angus Macmullen and Educator Josh Revkin and since their first adaptation, it's been revised two more times. We will teach you some ways to program it. Then you will go on to invent your own programs. The possibilities are infinite. Add color and shadows.

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