10. Funky, Fab and Fantastic. Yeah! That’s Middle School Maths.August 23, 2016
Maths today is invisible.
It is hidden, most often, behind screens in computer code. But every so often some magical machine arrives that makes maths visible.
Look at the Marble Machine (below) by Wintergartan a Swedish folktronica band, then ask your students ‘what maths was involved making this machine?’
It didn’t just happen. Some suggestions below.
*length of xylphone keys. These will be accurately measured to produce the correct note. Ditto width and thickness.
*rate of rotation of gears, wheels
*parabolic path of marble falling on xylophone keys
*ratios of gear wheels
*statistics. The marbles do not always bounce indentically off the keys. So the cup needs to be big enough to capture – what?- 99.99% of the bouncing marbles. I think less. You can count the number of marbles – ball bearings – that have escaped. You can see them on the floor at the end of the video. So you can calculate the % that escape.
*timing (Each element of the machine has to be timed to create the musical effect. Not chaos.)
*Engineering Maths: Strength of laminate. This will have been tested by the manufacturer. Laminates have a much greater tensile strength than one piece of wood.
*Computer Cutting: A program exists to accurately cut out those wheels from a laminate.
*How do you buy 2,000 marbles (ball bearings)? Do you count them? You would buy them by weight.
*Any more suggestions?