Here are a few responses received from the first Schmaker activity on the “Maker Mind.” If you’ve done the Parts, Purposes, Complexities exercise, please send me your sketches and notes to be posted here as well!
Steve Amann took apart a flashlight:
Lee Kladky examined a toilet tank:
1. Toilet handle – push down on toilet handle.
2. Arm – the arm is attached to it. The arm lifts up.
3. Chain – the arm lifts the chain, which lifts the pink thing it is attached to.
4. Pink thing – The pink thing must be a cover for a pipe going into the toilet bowl. When the pink thing lifts, the water in the top of the toilet is free to flow into the bowl to wash stuff away down the drain.
5. The big black ball – the ball goes down as the water level falls in the tank.
6. Black cover- the ball is attached to the black cover. I assume that, when the ball
falls, something happens inside the black cover that lets water come into the tank.
7. The big pipe – the inlets for water into the tank are right below this pipe, so I assume that this is where the water comes in.
8. Smaller pipe – this must send water into the tank to re-fill it. There is water coming into the tank of the toilet from the end of 8, while the pink thing is lifted. When you let go of the toilet handle, the pink thing falls down and seals of the pipe. I can still see water coming from 8.
9. Hose coming into open tube from the pink thing. As the water fills the tank, the ball rises. When the water is very near the top of the plastic tube right below 9) the tank stops filling
COMPLEXITY: I assume that the plastic tube below 9 has to do with preventing over-filling. Maybe it is open to the pipe that goes to the bowl.
Rebekah Jackson took a closer look at a sippy cup:
Bobbie Miyasaki examined a stapler:
All of these are common household items whose uses we often take for granted. It’s valuable to stop and think about the design of things in the world around us!