Rube Goldberg

Creating a Rube Goldberg machine throughout campus.

Photo of Courtney Tank
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Students are learning about force, motion, and simple machines in science class. Have small groups of students create a Rube Goldberg machine and then connect it with another group, etc. until the whole class has created one large Rube Goldberg machine. Then, you could have other classes in your grade level and other grade levels create one and connect them. Soon, you would have one large Rube Goldberg machine throughout the entire campus that everyone has helped create!


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Photo of Stephen

My classroomis currently dealing with Rube Goldberg.  I haven't done multi class collaboration, but I feel like for that portability would be key. As such I think you would want each team's work to fit in a letter box and have a set trigger, like all must begin with being triggered by a ball rolling in the front right lower corner and end by rolling a ball out of the front left corner.  That way all the group's can place their project in a row and it can work. 

Photo of John Faig

I like the idea of different classes working on a portion of the overall machine.  Different grades could also work on the same contraption.  It would reinforce collaboration, feedback, and planning

Photo of Michelle Fontenot

Love it, Courtney! I actually had a similar idea. If you need a collaboration partner, let me know! :)

Photo of KRISTIN Nash


Rube Goldberg machines are such a great way for students to connect their learning to a physical manifestation of concepts.  When thinking about engaging your students in this design process do you see them answering a specific (perhaps student generated question--like: how can we move apples from the counter onto my tray most efficiently?) or aligned to another aim?  I want to be there when your kids are designing and building.  Fun!  

Photo of Erin Quinn

I wish I could find the image, but I saw this neat photo of a school-wide Rube Goldberg Machine. Each classroom was given a panel that marked the entry and exit points, connecting to the next class's panel. Each classroom undertook the design process to decide what they would put on their panel, and then for the celebration of learning, the panels were put together to run the entire machine. Pretty cool.

Rube Goldberg machines are pretty fun (see this floating around Facebook lately? How do you see them creating active curiosity in STEM?