Home /  Courses And Programs / Rube Goldberg Engineering

Design and Build a Rube Goldberg Machine


We’ve all seen the crazy chain-reaction contraptions called Rube Goldberg machines, named for the cartoonist who originated them as a parody of modern life. Now you can explore the creative side of engineering by designing and building your own Rube Goldberg devices.

We will start with a broad look at the principles of mechanics and design and also go over measurement and hand-tool use. Then, working in teams, students will design and build interactive machines where a simple push starts a chain reaction of pulleys, dominoes and so much more. As the week progresses, our designs will become more complex, culminating in a grand finale chain reaction on the last day. Ultimately we will see how these devices, which waste time and energy to accomplish simple tasks, can be a vehicle for engineering ingenuity and artistic expression.

What You Will Learn

  • Receive safety instruction
  • Learn basics of mechanics and thermodynamics
  • Gain an understanding of what a chain reaction is and why we want to learn about this concept
  • Design and experiment with mechanisms for transferring energy from one place to another
  • Learn about hypothesis testing and the scientific method
  • Take a historical look at failure and examine how failure has led to success
  • Design, build and test a variety of Rube Goldberg machines

Return to the Sally Ride Science Junior Academy website here.

Course Number: WKSP-90038
Credit: 0.00 unit(s)

+ Expand All