Incredible Machines, Devices, & Gizmos

Addie summed up Summer Academy well. “I like that you get to make stuff. Compared to ‘real’ school, it’s less worksheets and more hands-on,” she said. She was definitely hands on this morning, creating a pinball machine in Incredible Machines, Devices, & Gizmos. 

Addie based her pinball game on a favorite book series: Keeper of the Lost Cities. Her cardboard game platform was covered with symbols representing places in the books. Hitting Alluveterre, represented by a majestic tree, is worth 1500 points; nearby Candleshad is only 300 points. A bloody tipped dagger representing the setting at Ravagog, is worth a whopping 10,000 points. I’m really curious about what happens at Ravagog in the book.

Farris glued his shooter contraption to the lower right side of his pinball structure. “Right now I’m attaching the launcher for the marble,” he explained. His machine has a musical theme. “I’ve been doing guitar for seven years now and I really like music and singing so I thought it would be a cool thing to do.” 

Farris was inspired by the hundreds of pinball machines he saw once in Las Vegas. He played everything from antique mechanical machines to high-tech modern games. “There was even a 3-layer pinball machine with an elevator!” he said. 

Nolan’s machine involves planets. “I drew earth, the moon, sun, and Neptune,” he said, pointing to his artwork. The most challenging planet to hit in the game is earth, he said. He prepared to attach his launcher. “We made a shooter out of yarn and poster board, and these.” He pointed to gold brads holding pieces of the posterboard together. 

Like Addie, Nolan’s favorite thing about the class and Summer Academy in general is, “You get to build stuff!”

Elsewhere, kids explored real woodworking tools as they created parts and pieces for their construction projects.

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