2018 Annual TBE Rube Goldberg Contest

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Rube Goldberg 2016

Our Special Day is Coming Soon...

A Rube Goldberg machine is a contraption, invention, device or apparatus that is deliberately over-engineered to perform a simple task in a complicated fashion, generally including a chain reaction.

Our RUBE GOLDBERG MACHINE CONTEST is designed to encourage teamwork and out-of-the-box problem solving for our students at TBE. We tackle the most mundane tasks and ask students to create overly elaborate and hilariously conceived wacky contraptions in honor of the competition’s founding father. Rube Goldberg (1884-1970) was a Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist, best known for his nutty chain reaction inventions. We encourage the use of every-day objects to create your Rube Goldberg Machine and to integrate as many recycled items as possible. Imagine the kinetic component of everything in the world around you and put it into motion in our Rube Goldberg Machine!


Monday, April 9th, 8:30am to Friday, April 13th, 3:30pm

Computer Lab at TBE

This contest will be open ended and live outside of the confines of CMAS testing. When you are done with CMAS testing, feel free to come to the Library Media Center and invent, build, refine, and play!

Step 1: Get Inspired

Rube Goldberg 2013
OK Go - This Too Shall Pass - Rube Goldberg Machine - Official Video
75 Chain Reaction Ideas & Inventions
Rube Goldberg Project 2017 (apply a band-aid)

Step 2: Solve a Problem:


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Step 3: Gather Supplies

You can print out the following list here.

Collect a bucket-full of supplies and then lay them out so they’re easily seen. These can largely be found in your home or classroom — start with what you have! You will most likely start with some of these basics, and then forage your home or classroom for more supplies as you go. Here are some ideas to get you started:


Things that Roll

  • Marbles
  • Balls: Tennis, Baseball, Bowling, etc.
  • Toy Cars
  • Dominoes
  • Skateboard
  • Roller Skate
  • Mousetrap

Things that Move

  • Mousetrap
  • Dominoes
  • Toaster
  • Fan


  • Toy Train Tracks
  • Marble Runs
  • Books
  • Trays
  • PVC pipe
  • Plastic tubing
  • Gutters


  • Cardboard
  • Cereal Boxes
  • Cardboard Rolls
  • Plastic Water Bottles
  • Cans
  • Aluminum Foil

Household Materials

Step 4: Build the Machine!

Once you have the supplies ready, start building. While the OK Go video (and others like it) includes some pretty complex machines and concepts. The basic concept that we’re exploring is that of a chain reaction, so anything that tips something else over (and so one) is what you’re going for.

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