Homemade Rube Goldberg Machine

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Description

In this fun and, at times, hilarious force and motion activity, learners will use household objects to build a crazy contraption and see how far they can get a tennis ball to move. This is an excellent activity to explore all of the various forces that can act upon an object. Try visiting www.rube-goldberg.com for inspiration for your contraption.

Quick Guide

  • Preparation Time: 10 to 30 minutes
  • Learning Time: 1 to 2 hours
  • Estimated materials cost: $1 - $5 per group of students
  • Age Range: Ages 4 - adult
  • Resource Type: Activity
  • Language: English

Materials List (per group of students)

  • kitchen gadgets
  • tools
  • string
  • rubber bands
  • tennis ball or racquetball
  • fasteners, like Velcro or tape
  • lots of space!
Subjects

Informal Category

  • Toys

Subjects

  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Mechanical Engineering
  • Physical Sciences
    • Energy
      • Potential and Kinetic Energy
    • Motion and Forces
      • Machines
      • Gravity
      • Momentum and Velocity
      • Acceleration
      • Projectile Motion
      • Newton's Laws
  • The Nature of Technology
    • The Design Process
      • Invention and Innovation
      • Problem Solving
      • Troubleshooting and Maintenance
Audience

To use this activity learners need to

  • see
  • be mobile
  • touch

Learning styles supported

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Uses STEM to solve real-world problems
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities
Other
Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

By

COSI

Source Collection

  • Family Programs & Camps

Rights

All Rights Reserved, COSI Columbus, ©2009

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Comments

Deborah Lee Rose
New world record for Rube Goldberg machine
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Student engineers at Purdue University have set a new world record with their latest Rube Goldberg machine—which takes 244 steps to accomplish the simple task of watering a flower. Check out the step-by-step closeup video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xdPDn1KUz_A
and read more about the team and their machine at
http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/engineering/gonzo/the-worlds-most-complicated-rube-goldberg-machine.