A Scribbling Machine is a motorized contraption that moves in unusual ways and leaves a mark to trace its path. It’s made from simple materials and demonstrates the erratic motion created by an offset motor.
We like using harvested motors and switches from discarded toys and electronics and everyday objects like strawberry baskets and milk cartons in our creations. Try changing the length and weight of the eccentric motors, testing various drawing tools, experimenting with materials used for the base, and increasing and decreasing the speed of the motors. You will be amazed at the different motions and patterns you can create.
our goal is to make the marble travel from the top of the board to the bottom as slowly as possible.
Building a scribbling machine is a playful platform for the learner to investigate concepts at the intersection of art, science, and technology. The pattern and object created are as significant as the process of testing, questioning, and occasionally failing. Here are a few principles that exemplify the design goals of this activity:
• STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education is a means, not an end in itself. Building a functioning circuit is at the heart of this activity. Participants are intrinsically motivated to construct circuits as a means to making a scribbling machine.
• Activities and investigations encourage learners to complexify their thinking over time. The variety of materials and variables available for experimentation allow learners to rebuild and redesign as they have new ideas. Complexity can manifest itself electrically (by adding additional motors or incorporating switches), structurally (by exploring balance or size of the machine), or aesthetically (by focusing on building techniques to create specific patterns).
• Activity station design enables cross-talk and invites collaboration. We build scribbling machines at a communal table so that participants can see (and hear) what others are working on. Solutions to similar problems are shared and iterated upon from one builder to the next. New ideas are often inspired by other builders in the space