Research on Contraption Maker


Counter contraption with digital display


“I put Contraption Maker on the SMART board yesterday and the kids went crazy!”
– Donna Dubois, Oregon 2010 Teacher of the Year, Camas Ridge Elementary

Contraption Maker was chosen as a Best EdTech App of 2014 by Graphite, a free service from nonprofit Common Sense Education designed to help preK-12 educators discover, use, and share the best apps, games, websites, and digital curricula for their students. Contraption Maker is currently being used by hundreds of students in classrooms across three continents and growing.

Contraption Maker also the modern successor to The Incredible Machine (TIM), a game that has been researched by universities around the world for the past two decades.  Below is a sample of the many academic studies conducted on the effectiveness of TIM in the classroom:

“In the case of Contraptions, flexible, history-based sequencing is fully implemented, and it allows different users to approach different types of puzzles in their own ways, based on their level of problem solving skills, topic preferences, the nature of the arguments, or the type of activity (e.g., create or solve puzzles they want to perform). This is fun.”Critical Factors in the Design of Playful Learning Environments: Reflections on “The Return of The Incredible Machine: Contraptions” – Alvaro H. Galvis


Contraption Maker at Fidgets2Widgets after school program

“The Incredible Machine […] has many features to be easily used in a classroom environment. […] It develops students’ learning skills such as decision making, analytical thinking, practical thinking, critical thinking, problem solving, and motor skills. Furthermore, the responses of the students indicate that The Incredible Machine can easily increase the motivation of the students, it enhances creativity of students, it is a source of fun and curiosity for children.” Use of Commercial Games for Educational Purposes: Will Today’s Teacher Candidates Use them in the Future? – Aysegul Bakar, Yavuz Inal, Kursat Cagiltay

Cooperative Learning in the Classroom: The Importance of a Collaborative Environment for Computer-Based Education – Kori Inkpen, Kellogg Booth, Maria Klawe

The Dynamics of Affective Transitions in Simulation Problem-Solving Environments – Ryan S.J.d. Baker, Ma. Mercedes T. Rodrigo, Ulises E. Xolocotzin

Towards a Learning Companion that Recognizes Affect – Ashish Kapoor, Selene Mota, Rosalind W. Picard