Crazy Contraptions: Build Rube Goldberg Machines That Swoop, Spin, Stack, and Swivel: with Hands-On Engineering Activities for Kids

Nomad. (Build It Yourself). Oct. 2019. 128p. glossary. index. photos. websites. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781619308268.
Gr 4-6–Inspired by cartoonist (and trained engineer) Rube Goldberg, Perdew intersperses introductions to six simple machines from inclined planes to screws, explanations of Newton’s laws of motion, and projects that use these principles and tools to show energy in motion and sequential actions. The projects, which include a device for knocking down a “one-armed Lego dude” to a working catapult (or “Treat Launcher”), are all constructed from easily available materials. Most include hints or challenges aimed at inspiring tinkerers to concoct alternative designs to accomplish the same results. Along with plentiful diagrams and color illustrations, nearly every spread features a vocabulary list. Many also include one or more Q-code links to relevant videos online.
VERDICT A delight for all budding engineers in elementary grades who, as Perdew puts it, “like to think of complex ways to accomplish simple tasks.”

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