Theory Play Share & Discuss

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Teach Energy
with Contraption Maker

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Learn more about energy! In Contraption Maker, energy is represented in many different ways, just as energy appears in real life in many forms as well.

Teacher Resources

  • Theory: This lesson is all about energy, its different forms and how they are represented in the game.
  • Play: The students play as many levels as they have time for and consider how energy is represented in-game.
  • Share & Discuss: These tasks focus on energy.

Theory: Energy

  • “In physics, energy is the property that must be transferred to an object in order to perform work on, or to heat, the object.” (source)
  • Energy can be converted in form but it cannot be destroyed or created.
  • There are many types of energy, such as kinetic, nuclear, potential and so on. Energy can be transformed into another form, such as when juggling objects (where potential energy is transformed into kinetic energy and vice versa).

Lightning storm.

Teacher Resources


Lesson Goal

Play Contraption Maker! Complete the Tutorial Puzzles 25-36 (Dominoes - Laser Repeater) and move on to the Easy Does It puzzles if you have time afterwards.

While you are playing, consider:
How is energy represented in the game?
What different types of energy can be found in the game?
What forms of energy can you think of that do not appear in the game?

Teacher Resources

Leave this slide open as the students are playing.

When you have about 5-10 minutes of lesson time remaining, have the students stop playing and move on to the next slides.

How to Play

To start playing, click on Puzzles.

Gameplay screenshot

Next, select the puzzle pack you'd like to play. It's a good idea to begin with the first one, Tutorial Puzzles.

Gameplay screenshot

Finally, select the puzzle you would like to play.

Gameplay screenshot

Share & Discuss

Share & Discuss

  • Did you have trouble with any puzzle? Do you want to know how it is solved?
  • How far ahead did you get? What was your favorite puzzle?
  • Do you think it would possible to construct these contraptions in real life? Why? Why not?

Tasks after Playing

  • List different types of energy. Then, look online for sources on different types. Did you find any surprises, or something you haven’t heard about before?
Show Notes

There are plenty (kinetic, potential, mechanical, gravitational, nuclear and so on), and a good number of lists online with more elaborate descriptions.

  • Think of the game’s representation of energy. What different kinds can you find? Are they portrayed truthfully?
Show Notes

Many types of energy are portrayed in the game, but some (such as nuclear and ionization) are not directly represented (even if, of course, everything depicted in the game actually consists of ionic bonds). Moving objects and balloons filled with heated air are examples of the game’s depiction of energy.

  • Can you destroy energy? What happens if you try?
Show Notes

You cannot, but energy can change form. If you stop a ball from moving (for example, with gravity), its kinetic energy typically becomes potential energy, and vice versa: if you make it move, the potential energy becomes kinetic energy. In other cases, such as hitting a wall, some of the kinetic energy is converted into sound and heat. What remains constant is the amount of energy, which is never destroyed or created, merely transformed.