Rube Goldberg Devices

Simple Machines Project-March 28 through April 5th

What is a Rube Goldberg device????

A Rube Goldberg device is a very complex series of machines that accomplish a simple task.
OK Go - This Too Shall Pass - Rube Goldberg Machine - Official Video
Andrew's 8th Grade Rube Goldberg Project - Final

Rube Goldberg Device Project

Objective: You will design and build a chain reaction of simple machines that will accomplish a simple task in a complicated manner.


1. All six types of simple machines must be used in your sequence somewhere.

2. There must be 10 simple machines total used.

3. The project must be completed with a group of 3 to 4 students at school.

4. All of the “power” in you Rube Goldberg device must come from sources of potential energy such as gravity, rubber bands, or springs.

5. Each team will have two attempts to get their device to work on presentation day. Every additional attempt after will cost the group 2 points.

6. A blue print must be completed and approved before construction begins.

7. The whole project cannot be larger than 36 inches in height, 24 inches in width, or 12 inches deep.

8. No human interaction is allowed except to start the chain reaction.

9. A paragraph explaining the step-by-step process of how the machine works must be completed and turned in when the device is presented.

10. There can only be limited use of toy or manufactured parts on the device, and all must be pre-approved by the teacher.

11. Parts used must be things found around the house/school or cheaply bought.

12. All lab safety rules must be followed! If not the teacher may assign an alternative assignment to be completed independently while other students are working.

Materials: I will be providing very few materials for the students to use so they are allowed to bring items from home. Suggested items: Hot wheels car, funnel, disposable cups, rubber band, string, inside roll of paper towel or toilet paper, empty plastic bottles, zip ties, popsicle sticks, foam pipe insulation, plastic spoons, old cd’s, hot glue/guns, C-clamp, etc. It is not necessary to go buy any of this stuff, just use things that you find around the house.


March 28th-Introduction of Project, Group Assignments (RandomlyDrawn from Hat), Brainstorming

March 29th-Groups plan and begin rough draft of blue prints (Start gathering materials needed from home)

March 30th-Finalize and approve Blue Prints, Begin Construction (Gather materials needed at home)

March 31st, April 1st, & April 4th-Construction, Test Machine, Complete Process Paragraph

April 5th-Project Demonstrations/Presentations

Grading Rubric:

-Rube Goldberg Device-50 points

All 6 simple machines present-15

At least 10 simple machines present-15

Device worked within two attempts-10

Followed all rules when constructing/sturdily built-10

-Blue Print-10 points

Completed on time-5

True to device built/presented-5

-Step-By-Step Descriptive Paragraph-20 points

-Participation-20 points (Each group member and the student will grade each other at the end of the project to make up the participation grade.)

Total- 100 points

For more information on Rube Goldberg Devices, please see the following resources.

Google Slides Link

Completing this Google Slide will be a large portion of your grade.