Building Compound Machines

by Jason Knight, 10th grade

In the Engineering Academy we do many interesting things such as building our own puzzle cubes, making bridges out of paper, and even building complex compound machines out of pieces from a VEX kit. The latter has definitely been the most fun that’s been had for the past two years. A compound machine is a machine that implements many different simple machines such as levers, pulleys, gears, and even wheel and axles. Having the complete freedom to build whatever is possible with the materials at hand was really enjoyable. To add a little more challenge, this compound machine had to be sketched, built, and tested in only three class periods. On top of that, it actually had to work. That was probably the hardest part; coming up with what to actually do for this project. After that initial problem, it became more of building things with the friends that share the same passion and problem solving with those same people. However, it wasn’t all just a cakewalk. There were many difficulties along the way for many of the groups. There was the problem of, like earlier, getting the machine to work, managing time, finishing the sketches on time, and last but definitely not least, completing the portfolio. But, once it was finished, there was that feeling of accomplishment that is received when a machine that has been by you ends up working and working well. And knowing that it was built with the help of all the others in your group lets you share that achievement with everyone involved. This project was an all around great experience and I was definitely glad to be a part of it.

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