Rube Goldberg Machines

Organized by Trang Pham, Natt Supab, Dmitri Skjorshammer

Darryl Yong asks: What to use for tracks? How about popsicle sticks that we tape together??
Trang Pham answers: That could work, so we would need those big popsicle sticks that are bigger than the balls. Or, what about heavy gauge wires where we can just mold them to shape?

Ideas and notes:

Some Rube Goldberg machines videos:

Supplies needed:

  • wooden blocks (those two boxes of blocks in class will be fine)
  • balls (40 balls) do you have an idea for what size would be good? marbles, or something bigger?
  • duct tape (3 rolls)
  • cups (small 5 oz cups, 30)
  • stopwatch
  • string (1 ream)
  • rubber bands (1 bag)
  • dominoes? (3 sets)
  • tracks (to roll balls on) (lots, I don't know where you would get this)
  • plastic utensils?
  • nails (for pivot points?)
  • I think we just bring whatever item we can bring, and let them get creative. Because I've seen machines with alarm clocks and books and the likes.
  • paper

(Dmitri Skjorshammer, how do you envision this activity will go?)
I envision the students having a lot of fun thinking of a rube goldberg machine. I think the devices they make will be very simple but the point of this lesson is to be creative and try out ideas "hands - on" approach.

Outline of the activity:

Split students into groups (of 5), give them the materials (and materials found in classroom), and have them race to see which team builds the longest lasting Rube Goldberg machine.
Natt Supab asks: What will be the simple function of the machine? (e.g. to push something into a box)
Trang Pham answers: How about knocking over the tower of blocks?

timewhat's happening
3:00-3:10intro, show some Rube Goldberg videos (Trang Pham)
3:10-3:45Let the kiddos make their own
3:45-3:55Demonstration of all the machines
3:55-4:00Clean up