Draw Your Own Cartoon

Draw Your Own Cartoon

Start your creative juices flowing by drawing your own cartoon.
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Tilt Sensor

Tilt Sensor

From Bots!

Make a simple tilt sensor with LED lights that indicate which way it's leaning.

Design a Space Robot

Design a Space Robot

From Robotics!

Think of what planet you would like to explore and design a robot based on the planet you chose.

Design a Poll

Design a Poll

From Big Data

Often, data is collected using a poll or survey. A poll or survey asks questions about people’s opinion on a topic. In this activity, you will design and conduct your own poll.

Take a Turing Test

Take a Turing Test

From Artificial Intelligence

In 1950, an English computer scientist named Alan Turing (1912–1954) devised a test to tell a person from a computer. You’re going to try this with a Chatbot. This is an online computer program that is designed to mimic a human.



School Library Journal 
“Gr 4-6–Inspired by cartoonist (and trained engineer) Rube Goldberg, Perdew intersperses introductions to six simple machines from inclined planes to screws, explanations of Newton’s laws of motion, and projects that use these principles and tools to show energy in motion and sequential actions. The projects, which include a device for knocking down a “one-armed Lego dude” to a working catapult (or “Treat Launcher”), are all constructed from easily available materials. Most include hints or challenges aimed at inspiring tinkerers to concoct alternative designs to accomplish the same results. Along with plentiful diagrams and color illustrations, nearly every spread features a vocabulary list. Many also include one or more Q-code links to relevant videos online. VERDICT: A delight for all budding engineers in elementary grades who, as Perdew puts it, ‘like to think of complex ways to accomplish simple tasks.’”

Praise for Extinction by Laura Perdew

National Science Teachers Association Recommends
“This book uses the concept of extinction to teach a little chemistry, a little climatology, paleontology, biology (biodiversity), ecology, and a lot of geology. The science information is historical and current, drawing on three–dimensional learning, incorporating science practices to determine what factors affect extinction in general and specifically. The integration of concepts helps bring the science alive and relevant.”

“When it comes to keeping kids’ interest in a subject alive, combining hands-on activities with knowledge is key. That’s why the Build It Yourself books from Nomad Press are such great resources, not just for classrooms, but also for at-home application of new learning.”

Alexander’s Library
Finally! A book about paleontology that begins with a geological time scale stretching from Earth’s beginning (about 4.6 billion years ago) to the present. Not only does the timeline map out eras, periods, and epochs, it also places the last five mass extinctions into context.

Detailed Book Description

Why use a simple hand motion to wipe your mouth when you can build a machine to do it for you?

Toppling dominoes, rolling marbles, racing balloon cars, springing catapults, and whizzing zip-lines are all elements used to build Rube Goldberg machines in Crazy Contraptions: Build Rube Goldberg Machines that Swoop, Spin, Stack, and Swivel with Hands-On Engineering Activities. The book introduces kids ages 9-12 (and beyond!) to the wacky machines designed by Goldberg, which were based on complicated chain reactions used to accomplish very simple, sometimes ridiculous, tasks. Young engineers are invited to invent, design, create, and play as they make their own Rube Goldberg machines using the engineering design process and lots of imagination! while

Throughout Crazy Contraptions, hands-on STEM activities, contraption hints, essential questions, and links to online primary resources help readers learn the basics of force, work, motion, and simple machines, while exploring their creativity as they design and build their own crazy contraptions.

Crazy Contraptions is part of a set of two Build It Engineering books that explore the engineering technology behind our daily lives. The other titles in this series is Bots! Robotic Engineering with Hands-On Makerspace Activities.

Try these hands-on engineering projects!

  • Turn on a CD player
  • Screw a lid on a jar
  • Pop a balloon
  • Make a zipline
  • Make a balloon car
  • Build a catapult
Available In:
Paperback, $17.95
Hardcover, $22.95
Includes: Table of Contents | Charts | Glossary | Resources | Index | Metric Conversions Chart
Specs: 8x10 size | 4-color | 128 pages
Subject: Science
Content Focus: Engineering & Technology



Meet Rube Goldberg
Draw Your Own Cartoon

Chapter One
Things You Should Probably Know Before You Get Started
Balloons and the Laws of Motion
Newton Supports Seat Belts

Chapter Two
Play with Inclined Planes
Knock It Over
Pyramid Demolition       

Chapter Three
Looking at Levers
Collapsing Cards
Treat Launcher
Ring a Bell

Chapter Four
Whoa! Wheels and Axles!
Water the Plant
Candy Delivery!
Send a Message

Chapter Five
Plucky Pulleys
Raise the Flag
Zippering Zip Lines
Roll the Dice

Chapter Six
Wild About Wedges
Turn the Page
Boat Launch
Tea Time!

Chapter Seven
Savvy About Screws
Turn on the Music
Tighten a Lid
Pop! Goes the Balloon

Chapter Eight
Go Big!
Go Big
Go Small
Go Loud

Metric Conversions
Essential Questions