It's no secret around here that I went to Purdue. And something that Purdue hosts every year is the Rub Goldberg contest. Teams of Engineers assemble contraptions to turn a simple procedure into an 8 step process. Think of it a little like the mouse trap game, where a ball rolls and knocks over domino which releases a string to drop the net to catch the mouse. Rube Goldberg was a cartoonist in the early 1900's who drew up some of these complicated gadgets, and Purdue created a contest and named it after him.
So when I received this Thames & Kosmos Gumball Machine Maker in the mail to review, it instantly reminded me of that contest. My kids could build their own mini version of a Rube Goldberg to get the gumball out of the machine and into their hands. And in the process they get a mini physics lessons (and be prepared to compete in the Rube Goldberg contest in about 10 or so years.)
Besides the basic frame of the gumball machine, enclosed are a number of ramps, slopes and additional supplies to get your gumball down the machine. A turn of a handle dispenses one gumball at a time out of the clear storage globe and down the track. As the gumballs roll down the track they build it can perform cool stunts and tricks. Stunts include a pulley lift, pendulum, funnel, trampoline, variable-slope ramp, pinball launcher, and domino slide. An instruction book is provided to show how to build as well as explain the physics behind the process. Each segment of the track teaches a different lesson in mechanical physics, allowing users to explore topics such as simple machines, force, motion, momentum, gravity, Newton’s laws, energy transfer, and more. Trial-and-error experiments teach in a fun, hands-on way.
This product is recommend for ages 6 and up. It can be purchased at Amazon or Target stores.
Thanks again to Thames & Kosmos for sending me this kit to review.