Cranky contraptions are whimsical and mechanical, used to demonstrate students understanding of motion mechanics, simple simple machines and of course creativity, problem solving and collaboration to name only a few. This capsule is designed to get teachers and students creating cranky contraptions and/or automata on their own. Below you will find all you need to get started with #crankycontraption.

Curriculum Connections:
  • Elementary and Secondary – The Technological World
    • Design Process
    • Construction diagrams
    • Mechanical engineering
    • Material manipulation
    • Manufacturing objects
    • Techniques for manipulating objects
Examples of Stuff We Made:
Materials and ideas kindly shared via Exploratorium’s The Tinkering Studio



Video Tutorial on how to bend the wire

Getting Started (PDF)


Ryoko Matsumoto’s Sketchpad Page

Rob Ives’ Designing Paper Animations

Cardboard Automata

Tinker Studio Automata

Video on Curious Contraptions

Different kinds of cams for automata

#crankycontraption Activity Page
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