Imagination is more important than knowledge." Albert Einstein


  • Groups must create a machine consisting of AT LEAST 4 of the 6 simple machines listed. 
  • The device MUST accomplish the task that was originally intended and planned by the group.
  • Students will have three (3) class periods to complete their 'invention."
  • Lever
  • Wheel and axle
  • Pulley
  • Inclined plane
  • Wedge
  • Screw
Rube Goldberg was an artist, inventor, engineer, author and sculptor. He is best known for his comical drawings of crazy contraptions and inventions. His artwork appeared in newspapers throughout the United States from the early 1900's to the 1960's. Today, the term Rube Goldberg is used to signify anything done in an overly complicated or round-about manner.

Today, his spirit lives on in Rube Goldberg machine contests and school projects everywhere. Students use household items to try to build the most complex machine possible, to accomplish a simple task. For example, to turn the page of a book, a machine might include balls, string, various toys, pulley systems, old bicycle parts, mousetraps, recycled junk and more. The wackier the better! By building these crazy contraptions, students gain invaluable skills in creativity and science. Plus, it's fun!
Your own imagination and creativity are all you need to build a super Rube Goldberg machine. There are a few rules because this project will be graded. Follow the rubric.
  1. Decide on a goal for your machine (unless your teacher has assigned one already). The goal is the last step of your machine. It may be something useful, like how to turn off the alarm clock, or something wacky, such as how to swat a fly.
  2. Gather a few things from around the house, in your toy box, junk drawer, or garage. Balls, marbles, dominoes, string, toy cars, mousetraps (never use a rat trap - it could break the bones in your hand), magnets, cardboard or tubes, etc. Don't worry, you can collect more later. Avoid fire or dangerous chemicals or anything that goes against school policy! If you are not sure please check with me before your bring it in!! .If there is anything I can provide for you let me know. You are welcome to have it if I have it!
  3. Now play with the things! What can the car bump into or knock down? Can the string pull something up? What can push the ball down the cardboard ramp? Try it out!
Get a piece of paper and start writing down any idea that pops into your head. This is called brainstorming. No matter how crazy the idea seems, just write it down for later. Even if you don't use it, it may help you think of more things. This is called brain storming!   Remember not to overlook the most important element of an outstanding Rube Golberg machine: WACKINESS! Rube saw the humor in every situation!! You do not need to spend money to do this. Just look for silly, interesting things around your home to help you. GO CRAZY! A true Rube Golberg machine would be boring without some common household items (old toys, toilet plunger, egg beater, mousetrap, typewriter...). Also remember to follow the rubric for requirements!

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