Lower Jaws and Craft Stick Levers

While planning the puppet unit, the Kool Katz dreamers determined that teams would need a mechanism to hold the puppet upright while under construction. For this purpose, Dave developed a versatile piece of equipment we named the Gizmo Rig. The rig has been modified several times and has proven very helpful for the puppet unit and several projects since then.

Puppet building exemplifies 21st-century skills in action!

engineering activity

A third-grade student fabricates and fits his puppet’s lower jaw to the body tube.

The Kool Katz envisioned the puppet mouth mechanism as a lever. 

This was a real challenge for the teams as they imagined and tested ways for the jaw to pivot on the body tube. 

  • Where to place the fulcrum for the lever?
  • How to ensure the lower jaw lined up with the upper jaw while allowing the mouth to open and shut?
  • What shape will the head be, and how should the upper jaw support it?

These were just a few of the problems that needed to be solved in the first two prototyping sessions. Each team reached their own unique solution for overcoming obstacles, and it was exciting to observe 21st-century skills in action! Though our design teams were unconventional in structure, a student and an adult, they collaborated, analyzed problems critically, and developed hybrid solutions. No two designs were the same and some were VERY different!

Bring your simple machine lessons to life with the newest Kool Kat Science STEM unit: Explore Simple Machines with Mechanical Puppets

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