Rube Goldberg Machines

For this challenge, you will build a Rube Goldberg machine. A Rube Goldberg Machine is a series of complicated, unique and fun chain reactions that result in completing a simple task. It relies on moving objects to create these chain reactions. Did you know that any object that is moving has what is called kinetic energy? Giving an object more speed means giving it more kinetic energy. Kinetic energy can be transferred from one object to another through a collision, like when one domino tips over into another domino. Even without a collision, objects can gain kinetic energy by falling down or rolling down a ramp. The goal of a Rube Goldberg machine is to find creative ways of making this type of energy transfer happen! What simple task might you carry out through complicated chain reactions? Turning ON/OFF a light, hitting the snooze button on an alarm clock, adding sugar to coffee?

consider this

key terms

kinetic energy: (noun) power or force an object has because of its motion

chain reaction: (noun) series of events where the previous event causes the next event

energy transfer: (noun) conversion of one form of energy into another, or the movement of energy from one place to another

force: (noun) influence that results in motion, stress, etc. when applied


design a solution

generate an idea

What materials do you have around the house that you can use to make your Rube Goldberg Machine? How can you transfer energy from one object to the next? Bump into another object? Push or Pull an object? Be creative! If you haven’t, check out the video above to get some ideas on how you can use materials.

design and build a prototype

What unique materials or equipment could you use to make your Rube Goldberg Machine different? How long can you make your machine?

share your idea

Film a short (Max 2 min video) pitch of your invention. Include details like who is it for, what problem does it solve, etc. Have fun! Upload/share your video to twitter, facebook or Instagram. Don't forget to tag us!

example solutions

No items found.

overcome more challenges