Powered Paddleboat

I’ve deliberately kept the designs for the “machines” in Marvellous Machines very basic for two main reasons: 1) I want to make it as easy as possible for you to make a working machine so you can play and experiment with it, and 2) I want you to experience the satisfaction of improving the machines for yourself.

The “powered paddleboat” is perhaps the best example of this in the book – it shows how a paddleboat mechanism can be made, but it does not work very well. This was very much on purpose – the flaws in the boat are evident when you try it out, and can be seen clearly in the video above. This is a machine that demands to be fixed / improved upon, so I was delighted when I saw the tweet below, from a dad who’d tried it with his 9 year-old:

EXTRAS: A short documentary about “The Rocket”, a steam powered paddle boat still in operation in Bangladesh:

MORE GOOD STUFF: Click here for more activities. I’ll be publishing more videos of activities from my book over the coming weeks. Check back here, follow me on Twitter or subscribe to my YouTube channel to make sure you don’t miss them.

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