Cardboard Automata - DuPage Children's Museum

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Cardboard Automata

Engineering and art combine as students tell their “story” using the mechanics of simple machines. Cardboard automata are mechanical sculptures that use cams, levers and linkages, and everyday materials to make the subject of their story
move up and down, turn around, or jump front to back. The projects are instructive, playful, and imaginative.


Students participating in this Learning Lab will learn about the mechanics of making something move using cams, camshafts, and pushrods and using this movement to tell a story of their own creation. Then the artwork kicks in, as the students use various art materials to create the story and attach it to the movement. Each automata is as unique as the students themselves!


Addresses Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS):

  • Engineering Design


Addresses Illinois Learning Standards for Fine Arts:

  • Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work.
  • Organize and develop artistic ideas and work.
  • Revise, refine, and complete artistic work.
  • Construct meaningful interpretations of artistic work.
  • Grades 5 – 8
Lab Time
  • Session 1:
  • 2 Hours
  • Session 2:
  • 2 Hours
Pricing per Learning Lab
  • $18 Per Student


Madalyn McLean
Education Booking Coordinator
630.637.8000 x6150

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