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Pendulum Game
Lab 2 - Creating the Kerplunk Game

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Part 1 - Step by Step

  1. InstructInstruct each group to build the Pendulum Kerplunk Game using the directions.

    Pendulum Kerplunk Game
    Pendulum Kerplunk Game

  2. ModelModel for students how allow the pendulum to dangle from a chair or a table. Model for students how to test, fail, and test again using different heights until you reach 50 millimeters. Allow students to use rulers to help with measurement.
    Video file

    Model for students how to test, fail, and test again using different heights until you reach 50 millimeters. Allow students to use rulers to help with measurement. 

    • Model how to make a character using pieces and the Pin Tool.
    • Allow students to use rulers to help measure.
    • Model for students how place the pieces on a curved semi-circle.
    • Model for students how to play the game using the pendulum to swing and knock down the character pieces.
      Pendulum Ready to Swing
      Pendulum Ready to Swing
  3. FacilitateFacilitate a discussion for students about the Engineering Design Process by asking the following questions.

    Discuss Changes to the Pendulum
    Discuss Changes to the Pendulum

    • How can we debug as part of this game?
    • Is failure a part of this game? Why?
    • What can we do when our partner fails? Is there really a winner? Or is it luck? Is there a skill?
    • What has your team learned about where you set your characters on the semi-circle? Is there a way to win?
    • How many teams are cheering for each other? Why is it important to show good sportsmanship in a game?
  4. RemindRemind groups to use the iterative process when something in their design doesn’t work.

    Encourage students that it’s ok to make mistakes and that ultimately every mistake will lead to a success. If a challenge becomes too frustrating, provide scaffolding through suggestions or providing a solution. By walking around and observing, the teacher will see what groups are progressing and what groups need more scaffolding. Allowing students to understand that this is not a race and more of an exploration will help students to feel confident about the activity.

  5. AskAsk students to think about how real engineers design new inventions.
    • How many times does it take for these designers to get their creations right?
    • What kinds of techniques do you think they use to make the process easier?
    • How have you today used the same techniques to help build our additions to the pendulum?
    • Do you think engineers work in groups like we have today to design?

Mid-Play Break & Group Discussion

As soon as every group has accomplished playing one round of the Pendulum Kerplunk Game, come together for a brief conversation.

  • Now that you have played one round of the Pendulum Kerplunk Game, what successes can you show us? Any tips you have the rest of the class?
  • What challenges did you face while putting the Pendulum Kerplunk game together?

Part 2 - Step by Step

  1. InstructInstruct each group to experiment changing the objective, goals, and directions of the Pendulum Kerplunk Game to create a new game.

    Allow students to change one, two, or all three depending on teacher preference and time. Encourage students to work in the same teams.

    Pendulum Kerplunk Game
    Pendulum Kerplunk Game

  2. ModelModel how to change different objectives such as each team is playing against the pendulum instead of playing against each other.

    Also model the following:

    • How to change goals to win, such as each player does not want to knock any characters down.
    • How to change the directions for the game such as making the characters more than 100 millimeters, instead of less than 100 millimeters.
      Designing Different Characters
      Designing Different Characters
    • How to test, fail, and test again using different additional pieces.
    • Allow students to ask questions about how to fail and try again.
    • How team members have different jobs, such as a journalist or a builder.
    • Using these jobs, students can test, or build their new game.
    • How to write on the Engineering Design Process organizer.
    • Ask students to draw and write in each bubble when they start to think, test and then design their new game.
  3. FacilitateFacilitate a discussion for students about the engineering process by asking the following questions.

    Discuss Changes to the Pendulum
    Discuss Changes to the Pendulum

    • How can you use the engineering process to help experiment?
    • How does failing help you find a better answer?
    • What types of successes have you found after testing out a few different directions or goals for your game?
    • Is failure a part of the Engineering Design Process?
    • What questions do you still have about the Engineering and Design Process?
  4. RemindRemind groups to use the iterative process when something in their design doesn’t work. Encourage students that it’s ok to make mistakes and that ultimately every mistake will lead to a success.
    • If a challenge becomes too frustrating, provide scaffolding through suggestions or providing a solution.
    • By walking around and observing, the teacher will see what groups are progressing and what groups need more scaffolding.
    • Allowing students to understand that experimenting is something that can be a small change such as simply changing the height of the characters can ultimately change the game.
    • Allow students to be creative and think of a new game title. Allow students to play their new game.
  5. AskAsk students to think about how real game makers develop a game? Do they go through the same experimentation process?
    • Who do plays the game? Could you be a game tester?
    • What types of skills does it take to be a game inventor? Do you think that these skills can be applied to other inventions or jobs in the real world?
    • How do you think you could become a game developer or inventor?