A bit from the redefinedonline.org piece on Julie Sear:
A Matchbox car. A tack taped to its hood. A trio of middle school boys.
In Sear’s first period, a project: Make a Rube Goldberg contraption with at least five energy transfers. Boy one nudges the car towards a balloon, which butts up against one of those pendulums with a series of spheres on strings, which is next to another toy car, which is tracked towards a marble, which is then supposed to dribble off the edge of the counter into a cup on the floor. Car rolls. Balloon pops. Pendulum swings. The second car rolls, but stalls before it can ram the marble.
“Not enough force,” Sear says. “What can you do different?”
Next try: Car rolls. A bigger balloon pops. The pendulum swings. The second car rams the marble. The marble rolls … and rolls … and (hold your breath) … stops at cliff’s edge. Ahhhh, the boys groan.
But they smile, too.
“We fail a lot,” shrugs seventh-grader Mahir Rutherford. “That’s just part of the experiment.”