What If? 2016 - Derby Days Out Blog
22nd February 2016

WhatIf? 2016 took place at the recently refurbished Derby Silk Mill and the DDO family were one of the 6 teams involved in the day. Here's our experience:

Well, during the briefing we were all a little bit nervous and worried about what we were going to make. If you aren't sure what the day is about here it is in a nutshell: "it's a consequential, self-triggering, over-engineered machine"! Basically, all the teams are given a starter pack of random items and bits and bobs and most importantly, a wooden trigger with an elastic band. Each team has to think of an exciting and unusual way for their machine to self trigger which will then set off the next teams machine! 

You could also help yourself from the 'scrapheap' which had all kinds of weird and wonderful items from guttering to dominoes, umbrellas to duplo blocks! 

After a quick chat about what we were going to do (other than wing it!) we got to work. 

DDO Dad and Lola hard at work!

We decided we wanted to create a multi storey machine and somehow have a domino train which will knock down and then trigger another part of the machine. The rest we would figure out and work on as we went! (So organised!!)

We arrived at 10am, stopped for a lunch break at 12:30pm, the public were let in from 1pm and the finale was at 4pm. We couldn't believe how quickly the day went and as our machine became more and more elaborate, I have to admit that we were all worried that we would not be ready in time. Lola kept saying "I'm worried that ours will be the only one that doesn't work!"

Duplo, characters and dominoes made our machine fun!!

The staff from the museum were on hand to help anyone out if they needed it and kept us energised with free tea and coffee all day. It was such an exciting atmosphere as it edged closer to the finale. 

Our final design was this: it started with a large marble that was tugged into place via the previous machines trigger, this knocked into Iggle Piggle in his little car down the guttering, which knocked a marble into dominoes, which knocked a marble down a tube and was helped into place with duplo bricks, which knocked a golf ball off a step and onto the trigger which fired up the next teams machine! Easy right??!! 

We had a few test runs and it all seemed ok but the big question was...will it go without a hitch for the finale???

The answer is ...... YES!! It actually worked perfectly! Everyone was so happy - there were high fives and hugs flying round and a huge sense of acheivement from us all! So the machines all connected up and the last machine triggered a huge banner which the museum staff had made. The banner said the words "We did it!" and had a group photo on of all the teams! We did it again two more times and I have to confess that we did have to intervene both times thanks to a domino malfunction! But hey ho - we weren't disappointed! In fact we felt very proud of ourselves and proud to be part of something so fantastic!

It was a really incredible day - exhausting at times because we used a lot of trial and error for our machine, but we also used a lot of teamwork, communication and skills that we didn't know we had and we had a lot of fun! 

I would highly recommend you to submit a team next year or come along and watch the spectacle. It's not something you get to see or do everyday and we guarantee it will make you go "wow!" 

The DDO Family x

More pictures:

For information about What If? 2017 visit here: www.derbymuseums.org/whats-on/what-if

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