The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • Snow.2
    FIRST SNOW—Heavy, wet flakes piled deep on tree branches—and windshields—as the area received its first significant snowfall of the season. “Usually it begins with a dusting or two,” said George Isobar, Morenci’s observer for the National Weather Service, “but this time it came with a vengeance.” By the end of the day Saturday, a little over four inches of snow was on the ground. Now comes the thaw with temperatures in the 40s and 50s for three days.
  • Front.sculpt
    SKEWERS, gumdrops, and marshmallows are all that’s needed to create interesting shapes and designs for Layla McDowell Saturday at Stair District Library’s “Sculptamania!” Open House. The program featuring design games and materials is one part of a larger project funded by a $7,500 Curiosity Creates grant from Disney and the American Library Association. Additional photos are on page 7.
    Morenci marching band members took to the field Friday night dressed for Halloween during the Bulldog’s first playoff game. Morenci fans had a bit of a scare until the fourth quarter when the Bulldogs scored 30 points to leave Lenawee Christian School behind. Whiteford visits Morenci this Friday for the district championship game. From the left is Clayton Borton, Morgan Merillat and James O’Brien.
    DNA PUZZLE—Mitchell Storrs and Wyatt Mohr tackle a puzzle representing the structure of DNA. There’s only one correct way for all the pieces to fit. It’s one of the new materials that can be used in both biology and chemistry classes, said teacher Loretta Cox.
  • Front.tar.wide
    A TRAFFIC control worker stands in the middle of Morenci’s Main Street Tuesday morning, waiting for the next flow of vehicles to be let through from the west. The dusty gravel surface was sealed with a layer of tar, leaving only the application of paint for new striping. The project was completed in conjunction with county road commission work west of Morenci.
  • Front.pull
    JUNIORS Jazmin Smith and Trevor Corkle struggle against a team from the sophomore class Friday during the annual tug of war at the Homecoming Games pep rally. Even the seniors struggled against the sophomores who won the competition. At the main course of the day, the Bulldog football team struggled against Whiteford in a homecoming loss.
    YOUNG soccer players surived a chilly morning Saturday in Morenci’s PTO league. From the left is Emma Cordts, Wayne Corser, Carter and Levi Seitz, Briella York and Drew Joughin. Two more weeks of soccer remain for this season.
  • Front.ropes
    BOWEN BAUMGARTNER of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge constructed by the Tecumseh Boy Scout troop Sunday at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The bridge was one of many challenges, displays and games set up for the annual Youth Jamboree by the Michigan DNR. Additional photos on are the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.homecoming Court
    One of four senior candidates will be crowned the fall homecoming queen during half-time of this week’s Morenci-Whiteford football game. In the back row (left to right) is exchange student Kinga Vidor (her escort will be Caylob Alcock), seniors Alli VanBrandt (escorted by Sam Cool), Larissa Elliott (escorted by Clayton Borton), Samantha Wright (escorted by JJ Elarton) and Justis McCowan (escorted by Austin Gilson), and exchange student Rebecca Rosenberger (escorted by Garrett Smith). Front row freshman court member Allie Kaiser (escorted by Anthony Thomas), sophomore Marlee Blaker (escorted by Nate Elarton) and junior Cheyenne Stone (escorted by Dominick Sell).
  • Front.park.lights
    GETTING READY—Jerad Gleckler pounds nails to secure a string of holiday lights on the side of the Wakefield Park concession stand while other members of the Volunteer Club and others hold them in place. The volunteers showed up Sunday afternoon to string lights at the park. The decorating project will continue this Sunday. Denise Walsh is in charge of the effort this year.
  • Front.homecoming Court
  • Cheer
  • Front.park.lights
  • Front.pull
  • Front.ropes
  • Front.sculpt
  • Front.tar.wide
  • Front.toss
  • Front.walk Across

Sampling simple machines

Written by David Green.


Make no mistake about it, if you’re a third grade student in Lori Garrow’s class at Morenci Elementary School, you’re going to learn about simple machines.thumbsup2

This year brought a bonus, however.

After lunch Monday, students turned their attention to a television screen at the front of the room, ready to spend an hour with Professor Gadgeteer from COSI.

The professor’s topic? What else but simple machines.

By linking up for a video conference, students watched the professor in action from her lab in Columbus, Ohio, while she, in turn, saw the students via a camera mounted on a classroom TV.

Students prepped for the presentation by working through a couple of lab sheets involving the Happy Crab.

The Happy Crab is a small red windup toy, a crab with a happy face that dances when set loose on a table top.

It’s not just a toy, Prof. Gadgeteer pointed out. It’s a gadget—something incorporating at least a pair of simple machines.andi2

Students studied the crab’s movements, thought about how it was able to move and took guesses about what was inside.

They also performed a series of tests in preparation for the long-distance learning day. Predictions were made about the number of wind-up turns and the resulting time in motion. Comparisons were made between the crab’s motion on the table and its motion while holding it off the table.

Prof. Gadgeteer wanted to know what the students thought was inside the crab, then she led them through a review of simple machines.

“How many of you guys jump on your bed?” she asked, leading into a discussion about springs.

A screw is a cylinder with an inclined plane, she said.

“If you look under your chair, you’ll see a lot of screws holding it together.”

Everyone suddenly disappeared as they bent down to take a look.

Pulleys, wedges, wheels and axle, levers, gears, eccentric wheels—there are many simple machines that help people with everyday

It was time for some reverse engineering, Prof. Gadgeteer said. Rather than designing a gadget, the students would tear one apart to find out what makes it tick—or in this case, how it dances and waves its arms.

The class was divided into four groups with tasks assigned to each members. The Project Leaders went to Mrs. Garrow’s desk to obtain a Happy Crab. Each Structural Engineer loosened a screw and handed parts to a Materials Handler.

Students eventually got to the guts of the gadget and the simple machines were identified. The professor mentioned that Mrs. Garrow could help them put the gadgets back together later—that caused some raised eyebrows from the teacher—because it was time to move on to the Chattering Teeth.

This was another wind-up gadget students were called on to guess what made it worked. Then it was time to tear it apart.screwingaround2

The toy contained an impressive collection of simple machines—six in all. Once they were recorded, reassembly was needed.

Alex Thomas and Sierra Bloomer had their teeth chattering in no time with for a successful completion of the project.

The hour was up and it was time for the professor to leave. She showed off her Bell Bopper, a not-so-simple set of simple machines used to turn off her alarm clock, and then the show was over.

    – Feb. 14, 2007

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2015