Sunday, January 20, 2013

Rube Goldberg Design Brief

I am so excited about our next engineering project in our STEM related curriculum.  We made Rube Goldberg machines!

First, there are some excellent interactive computer programs that your students can do either at home or at school. I found it interesting to watch my students complete these first, they were impatient because it takes thinking to solve the tasks.  But with patience and testing again and again, they were able to solve the puzzle.

The first one is from FOSS (of course)....You get to manipulate the different parts of the machine to catch a burglar.

The other one is from Zoom with PBS.  This one has more parts in the contraption, but it is really fun.  When you finish it, the skateboard delivers lunch to the crew!

Next I presented them with a design brief - You can purchase this design brief at Teachers Pay Teachers if you would like your own copy! 
The students spent a day in their science groups planning what materials they would use to create their own Rube Goldberg machines.

The next day, the students built their machines and I video taped their trials.

When we finished, the students reflected on what went well, what they would improve next time and drew a diagram of their redesigns.  It was a really cool experiment - I have kept the materials in the classroom for students to build during inside recess.  Some have even asked to try to create them outside during recess as well.  Good luck - I hope you try it too!



  1. I am so glad I found your blog today! My students are going to be creating Rube Goldberg projects very soon and your posts just gave me tons of new websites and videos to show them!