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Complicated contraptions teach problem solving at Unqua

           t Engineer and inventor Rube Goldberg, known for his wacky and complicated machines, inspired fifth-graders at Unqua Elementary School in the Massapequa School District. Students in the Magnet program, led by teacher Lorie Moran, built their own Rube Goldberg contraptions.

            Each group had to build a machine that accomplished a task. Justin Amante, Ioanna Livanis and Declan Stanton came up with a design that included a moving car and a ball going down a ramp before ending with a box of Cheerios spilling into a bowl. Other tasks included popping a balloon and watering a plant.

            Before building, students had to create step-by-step plans and draw blueprints that identified the transfers of energy. The contraptions had to include different simple machines like levers and pulleys. Children made adjustments during a trial-and-error process. They additionally used green-screen technology to film infomercials for their machines.