Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004)

Concept featured in clip: work, energy, simple machines, Rube Goldberg machines
Location of clip: Beginning of movie, around minute 3 (DVD)

Play Flickclip Here

Storyline: Lemony Snicket narrates the incidents of the Baudelaire children who have been orphaned after being their elegant mansion is burnt in a fire. These children are heirs of a great fortune. Suddenly their lives are wrapped in serious danger due to the Count's greed. The Count attempts, by all possible means, to keep the great inheritance. The children fall under the custody of kindred eccentric relatives who are being eliminated by the evil Count Olaf. Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire are three intelligent young children who receive terrible news that their parents have died in a fire and have left them an enormous fortune not to be used until the eldest child is of age. When they are sent to live with Count Olaf, a greedy distant relative, they soon learn he is trying to steal their fortune for himself.

Summary of clip: As the Baudelaire children are introduced in the movie, we find that Violet has a knack for using discarded items to create practical devices.

Connection of flickclip to the concept: Rube Goldberg machines are highly recognized for their intricate design for completing simple tasks.
Suggestions to teachers:

This clip is entertaining and attention-grabbing. Used as the Engage phase, it would serve as an ideal opening to any learning cycle on work, energy, and/or simple machines. It could also be used in combination with other clips on this topic and students could compare and contrast the machines in each clip and/or identify what the clips have in common.

• Can students identify / label one or more of the machines used in the clip?

• Evaluate the chances that this machine would really work … or is it a movie trick? Ask students about their experiences using machines and/or building with machines.

• What are some common examples of simple machines that we use everyday? (This can lead into the Explore phase where students participate in a concrete experience investigating a variety of simple machine devices)