MechAnimations are home-made kinetic toys, which depict animals, people or scenes with movable parts. Students begin by making things from pegboard strips and boards. They learn to distinguish between structures and mechanisms, and learn how to make increasingly more complex linkages. These become the basis for understanding and making MechAnimations. They develop a visual language for representing and communicating their designs, learn to control the direction of motion, and investigate how the design of a linkage affects the distance traveled. In addition, they explore mechanisms made by others, such as nail clippers, salad tongs, nutcrackers and pliers. Finally, they create their final MechAnimations based on the knowledge they have developed about the design of mechanisms.
NOTE: The curriculum documents are available below in both Word (.docx) and Acrobat (.pdf) formats. These have been revised and no longer correspond directly to the videos and other material in the on-line lessons.