Rube Goldberg Machines

Project Procedures

  1. Students will work in teams of 2-3 students to create a "Rube Goldberg" external arrow machine that accomplishes a specific task and demonstrates your knowledge of energy transfers and transformations.
  2. The machine will adhere to the machine parameters listed below.
  3. The team will create a rough blueprint external arrow of the machine. Only your final blueprint will be turned in for credit. You will not get a paper for the final blueprint until teacher approves the rough draft.
  4. The blueprint of your machine clearly labels and identifies:
    1. the energy transfers and transformations within.
    2. any chemical or physical changes.
    3. the simple machines external arrow contained within.
    4. a clear explanation of how each step works.
  5. All blueprints must be evaluated and approved by your teacher prior to building the actual machine.
  6. The blueprint must show pride and be neatly done.
  7. For the final blueprint, use only the blueprint paper provided by your teacher.

The Machine has these parameters:

  1. May use thermal, light, chemical, electrical, kinetic, sound or potential energy.
  2. Must use 3 or more energy transfers.
  3. Must use at least one energy transformation.
  4. Must be self-sustaining.
  5. May use a maximum of 20 dominoes. Dominoes are not required.
  6. Must not involve people or animals.
  7. Must use two or more types external arrow of simple machines external arrow, each type can be used more external arrow than once.
  8. Must be able to set up, test a few times, and clean up within a class period.
  9. Must accomplish a task. Choose from these tasks (ending options):
    1. shut or open door/drawer
    2. turn on/off light
    3. open/shut book
    4. turn on water faucet
    5. drop an object into a container
    6. draw a line or picture or write a message
    7. pop a balloon
    8. zip or unzip a zipper (not on a person)
    9. turn on or off radio/music
    10. water a plant
    11. Others options considered with teacher approval.


Rube Goldberg Project Grading Rubric

Group Members: _____________________  ____________________   _____________________

Project Objective: ______________________________________________

4 – Exceeds Standards 3 – Meets Standards 2 – Emergent 1 – Well Below Standards 0 - Missing Score
Energy Transformations Explanations Clearly identified and described 2 or more energy transformation Clearly identified and described 1 energy transformation Clearly identified 1 energy transformation (but not described) Energy transformation is not clearly identified No attempt was made to identify  
Energy Transfers Explanations Clearly identified and described 4 or more energy transfers Clearly identified and described 3 energy transfer Clearly identified 2 energy transfers Identified 1 energy transfer No attempt was made to identify  
Blueprint Complete and clearly labeled. Shows pride in work. Complete, but no more than 1 step was unlabeled. Complete, but 2-3 labels were missing OR messy Incomplete or missing many labels OR Sloppy, hard to read Missing.  
Goal Accomplishment Built machine clearly demonstrates all of the energy transfers and transformations; accomplishes objective goal. Machine was built and met the end goal Built machine, but did not quite achieve the end goal Attempt was made to build machine, but it did not function Did not build a machine.  
Total score