June 7th 2019 archive

The Imperial Cereal Machine

 A drawing of our machine:


  1. “Mom, I’m still hungry. Can I have more cereal please?” Once this child moves their bowl, they will start the machine.
  2. The bowl will knock over the pop can that the child was drinking with breakfast. This pop can will then roll down a ramp.
  3. At the bottom of the ramp, a selection of blocks will be lined up. Once this pop-can reaches the bottom, it will start a domino effect knocking the blocks down.
  4. The last block will land on one side of a lever. Since this block is the load, the other side of the lever will rise rolling the ball down the lever and pushing the block off the end. This block will then fall into the pulley system bucket.
  5. Once this block is in the bucket, the bucket will lower ultimately moving the container that is blocking the wind-up toy car.
  6. The wind-up car will hit the red funnel that is keeping a marble in place.
  7. This marble will roll down the ramp, fall into the red ramp and then fall again into the basket.
  8. Once the ball is in the basket, the fan will power on.
  9. The fan will blow cereal that has been placed on the inclined plane up and into the bowl that Kelsey will grab from the starting point.

The video:


Energy Transformations:

Mechanical to Gravitational Energy Transformation: When the child moved their bowl asking for more cereal, they started the machine. What this child didn’t know was that when the initial contact with the pop can was made, mechanical energy transformed into gravitational energy as the pop can rolled down the ramp.

Gravitational to Electrical to Thermal Energy Transformation: The movement of the marble was the starting point in this transformation. From the gravitational energy of the marble, this energy was transformed into electrical energy, demonstrated when the fan turned on. From there, electrical energy transformed into thermal energy when the air flow from the fan could be felt.

Elastic to Mechanical Energy Transformation: The wind-up toy car has stored elastic energy due to the application of force from the container. Even though we previously winded up the car, the force from the container stopped the car from moving.  When the container was removed the car’s stored up energy is transformed into mechanical energy as it moves from one place to another.

Types of Energy:

Electrical Energy:When the fan turned on, it used electrical energy because there was a flow of electrons though the outlet through the wire, to the fan.

Thermal Energy: Once the fan was on, the thermal energy could be felt through the flow of air. This air got cooler due to the vibration of atoms and molecules in the air.

Gravitational Energy: The pop can have gravitational energy because of its position of height on the kitchen counter.

Mechanical Energy: There are many objects in our machine that use mechanical energy. The reason for this type of energy is because of the movement of an object from one place to another.

Elastic Energy: The wind-up toy car has stored up elastic energy from when someone pulls it back. This energy is not released until the container is moved out of the path and the car can move forward.

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