Last week Kate came home with the project assignment she has been waiting for all year. The highly anticipated (and perhaps dreaded by parents) Rube Goldberg Machine. Of course this project teaches all sorts of lessons about simple machines and engineering and critical thinking. One lesson we did not anticipate was on banking or security.
One of the steps in Kate’s machine requires a lego waterwheel. This waterwheel belongs in a set of Ellie’s much beloved legos. Since Kate tends to be loosey goosey with her possessions Ellie was apprehensive about loaning her the wheel. Rather than seeing Ellie give Kate a hard ‘NO’ we suggested that she put up some sort of collateral for wheel. This piqued both their interests.
We explained that collateral was something you offered in exchange for borrowing the item and you would get it back when you returned said item. This really got their minds spinning. Ellie might be shy and quiet but she can be quite the schemer and she is excellent at math. Know what the first thing Ellie asked for was? Kate’s bracelet collection. You should have SEEN the fit Kate had when she realized Ellie was serious. This, of course, cemented the value of those bracelets and made Ellie dig in even more. (As tempted as I was to step in, we let this one play out to see what would happen.)
Kate stomped round and round the kitchen claiming that it was unfair and claiming that Ellie was doing it wrong. Ellie was supposed to pick something that SHE liked, not something that Kate liked. That’s a fair point but, we explained, that it should be something that Kate really wants back too. They both agreed that blankie was out. (Thank goodness.) The bracelets were still a hot item, but Kate came up with a new idea…cash. She was willing to give Ellie her piggy bank in exchange for the wheel. The original lego set was $150 (Thank you Santa!), did she have enough to cover that? Not quite.
They ended up settling on Kate’s guitar. The one she paid for herself but never plays. Interesting. We shall see how this all plays out in the coming weeks. The next step is to see if Kate can even get her grand Rube Goldberg machine to work. Who knows, maybe she will need to pick a new step. If it means borrowing something from Ellie, though she will be prepared. Maybe with spreadsheets and Ebay values!