Steps 

Time Allotment: This technology learning activity requires approximately 10 fortyfiveminute class periods.  
Introduction: Ask students to think about their favorite toys from childhood. What did they like about the toy? Why was it their favorite? Guide the class discussion toward toys which were mechanical in nature. Ask students to bring in a mechanical toy from home, if one is available. Distribute the Vocabulary sheet, in Organizers for Students, for students' reference.  
Control Systems: Draw a systems block diagram on the board. Explain each step (input, control, and output). Ask students to describe the input and output of one of the mechanical toys they have brought into class. Introduce the types of motion: linear, reciprocating, oscillating, and rotary. Ask students to describe the input and output of one of the mechanical toys in terms of linear, reciprocating, oscillating, and/or rotary motion. Define the term "control." Ask students to try to visualize what is inside each mechanical toy that is acting as the control system. Then ask them to describe which of the above principles they think are operating inside the toy.
 
Internet Research: Direct the students to use the following sites to research mechanical toys: The History of Toys and Games http://www.historychannel.com/exhibits/toys Wind Up Toy Company http://www.winduptoyco.com/windupmenu.cfm Have the students complete the Input/Output Worksheet in Organizers for Students, using three mechanical toys they found on the Web sites.  
Presentation Project: Have the students create a multimedia presentation using PowerPoint, Hyperstudio, or ClarisWorks Slide Show. Overviews of each program can be found in Organizers for Students. Inform the students that they can find additional information on mechanisms and control systems at the following Web sites: Introduction to Mechanisms How Stuff Works (If you have the CDROM or book available, have the students refer to THE WAY THINGS WORK by David Macaulay for additional information about machines and mechanisms.)
 
Class Presentations : Have the students make their presentations to the class audience. If possible, use an overhead projector or Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) panel so that all people in the room can see. 
Science: Study the physics of mechanisms, including Newton's Laws.
Social Studies: Using The History of Toys and Games (http://www.historychannel.com/exhibits/toys), compare and contrast toys and games of different time periods in terms of society and popular culture.
Mathematics: Introduce the concept of calculating for the mechanical advantage of a device.
Computer Science: Rather than produce a multimedia presentation, design and program a Web page that includes all required information.
Tips