Rube Goldberg Project Teacher Pages


Students will be able to list different forms of energy, describe ways in which energy is transformed from one form to another and transferred from one place to another.


Identify/describe the following C  B A
Transform 1 1 2
Transfer 4 5 6

Can use as many as desired, but must explain the amount in the table above.


Thermal, light, chemical, electrical, kinetic, sound, potential

Students will plan and create a "Rube Goldberg" project using 3 or more energy transfers and at least one energy transformation.

Students will need background information about the variety of energy types, and the difference between energy transfer and transformation.

Given specific parameters (to be determined), students will work in teams of 2-3 students (?) to plan (draw) a series of events that are interconnected demonstrating energy transfers and transformations, including a write up describing the energy transfers and the transformations that are taking place at each step along the way.  Students will need to also describe any chemical or physical changes that happen to any objects along the series of events.  (Must be able to set up, test a few times, and clean up within a class period)


self-sustaining; max 20 dominoes; not involving people or animals; use two or more simple machines

Ending options to choose from: shut or open door/drawer; turn on/off light; open/shut book; turn on water faucet; drop an object into a container; draw a line or picture or write a message; pop a balloon; zip or unzip a zipper (not on a person); turn on or off radio/music; water a plant        **Others options considered with teacher approval.


  1. Students need to know the differences between an energy transfer and an energy transformation
  2. Understand (at least be able to define) the different forms of energy;
  3. Show "OK Go" link on YouTube and other video clips that demonstrate similar concept
  4. Foldable for energy types  After the basic knowledge teaching and 1 -2 days of research, students will draw out a design for their project. This design must be approved by a teacher before being put into physical practice.

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 5 or more energy transfers Clearly identified and described 4 energy transfer Clearly identified 2-3 energy transfers Identified 1 energy transfer No attempt was made to identify  
Diagram Diagram was complete and clearly labeled Diagram was complete, but no more than 1 step was unlabeled Diagram was complete, but 2-3 labels were missing Diagram is incomplete or missing 4 or more labels Diagram was 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.  
Overall Shows extra pride and creativity Shows pride in work Needs work in neatness or pride Hard to read, diagrams are sloppy Have you ever heard of neatness??  
Title Has a descriptive title that relates to the project Has a title Can't understand the title No title  
Total score