Third graders went on a field trip to The Exploratorium in January to see the Curious Contraptions Exhibit. Besides visiting the science museum, many students also participated in workshop creating moving lego block automatons. This was a nice way to connect what students had done in art class on jumping jack puppets (called “pantins” in French).
Students also discussed automatons, their origins, and several literary tie-ins, such as in the books: The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick, l”Empereur et le Rossignol by Hans Christian Andersen, and Elizabeth, princesse a Versailles: le secret de l’automate by Annie Jay. We also were able to watch a clip of the very complicated automaton built by David Roentgen for Marie Antoinette.
We wanted to go to the Exploratorium while this special exhibit was still there and would like to go back to the theme of automata, later in the year, if time permits, to explore the scientific connections of automata to simple tools such as levers and pulleys and gears.