The new Code-a-Key Backpack! Bringing the Makey Makey and the BBC micro:bit together for more invention fun!

Creativity Matters- Around the World Chain Reaction

March 18, 2020

Guest Post by Colleen Graves 

Hi lovely Makey Makey Community,

I'm our head of curriculum and digital content (also known as our instigator of fun.)

This last week, I've seen that the progression of COVID-19 here in the US  (and around the world!) Everyday, I've heard about schools closing and folks starting to self-quarantine to help flatten the curve of COVID-19. In fact, I've got my kids at home with me for the next three weeks! I work from home and most of my job is coming up with fun stuff to do! So Tom Heck ( Our VP of Education Initiatives) and I want to share some ideas here on the blog to do with your kids and loved ones while you are stuck at home the next couple of weeks. 

We find making and playing to be great mood boosters! Today, I challenged my family to this Chain Reaction challenge from the Tinkering Studio and I'm feeling more positive than I have in a week!

Rube Goldberg 

So, first why chain reactions? Well, these weird and wacky chain reactions stem from Rube Goldberg machines. Personally, I've been obsessed with Rube Goldberg like chain reactions since I was a kid! I've always felt inspired to make weird gadgets out of everyday stuff because of folks like Rube Goldberg, Inspector Gadget, Wallace and Gromit, The Goonies, and even Max Fleischer cartoons!

Rube Goldberg made comics in the early 1900s featuring chain reaction contraptions with everyday objects that completed simple tasks in often inefficient ways. In fact, "Rube Goldberg appeared in the Random House Dictionary of the English Language in 1966 meaning "having a fantastically complicated improvised appearance", or "deviously complex and impractical."- From Wikipedia

Read more about Rube Goldberg and his comics on this site

If you would like to combine some chain reactions with some Literacy Connections, here are a couple of great books that connect:


Rube Goldberg's Simple Normal Humdrum School Day

Cause and Effect 
Perseverance (making a chain reaction takes a lot of this combined with tinkering!)

The Tinkering Studio

Here at Makey Makey, we just love The Tinkering Studio in San Francisco. They were even some of the first people to play with our little invention kit. They've posted an "Around the World Chain Reaction" tinkering idea that is simple and fun and can be done with anything you have at your house! Here's the warm-up...




We've created an Instructables for including Makey Makey in your Rube Goldberg Chain Reaction Creations.


Get the Guide:


Here are some examples so far we've seen for this challenge! Plus, if you'd like to use Scratch Cloud variables, check out this post by Josh Burker. 

From Bethany Jones:



 From Peter Kirschmann:




 From Josie Maitland:



From Patrick Benfeild:



My Response to Patrick:



 Angela Sofia Lombardo's response to Patrick:



Chris Colley's Response:



Lindsey Balfour from Strawbees :



Josh Burker's Chain Reaction:


 Liam Nilsen Tinkering with Beach Materials (Check the full thread!):


















We will add more examples as they come through on social! Share your own creations with the #RoundTheWorld_ChainReaction hashtag.

More Inspiration

Some projects can take months to dream up and create! This Lemonade Machine video is epic! Maybe you can take some ideas from this video for your own epic homemade chain reactions and rube goldberg machines.




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