Rube Goldberg Machines


Design and Build a Rube Goldberg Machine


 Challenge:  Design and build a Rube Goldberg Machine (R.B.M.) that involves a series of five or more simple machines.  Include at least two different types of simple machines.  In the end, your R.B.M. should perform a simple task.   

The idea is to create a series of forces that move things and lead to more movement! Materials:  Do not buy anything new.  Instead, collect and bring in materials from home.  With your parents’ permission, bring in objects that you would normally throw away or recycle (like packaging materials) or objects that will not be missed (like nails, balloons and string).  If needed to put the materials together, we will have a hammer, drill and glue guns at school (that will be handled only by a teacher). 

When gathering materials, look for objects that could: ð      

make good, rigid lever sticksð      

rotate around a fixed axle ð      

work as fulcrums and axlesð      

work as inclined planesð      

be made into a twisting inclined plane (like a screw)ð      

work as a wedgeð      

work as a pulleyð      

work to push, pull, drop, lift, compress, stretch or change the direction of a moving force 


Design and Construction:  Once materials have been gathered, we will work in class to design and assemble the RBMs in teams of three or four. Demonstration and Explanation:  Once assembled, you will need to demonstrate your RBM and point out the simple machines and what they do. 

Here is how we will be marked:


  • Design of Machine /15 
  • Plan on Paper (includes drawings, labels and descriptions) /10
  • Explanation of Machine (What simple machines are used and how is the energy travelling from one place to another) /40
  • Creativity (Did you use your materials in a creative way?  Did your machine perform a creative task?) /25
  • Complication of Machine (did your machine use at least 5 simple machines or more?) /10

 TOTAL /100