During our last STEAM Science and STEAM Science Jr. clubs we constructed our very own Rube Goldberg machines. Rube Goldberg was a cartoonist famous for drawing complicated inventions to complete simple tasks. It is estimated that he drew over 50,000 cartoons in his life time! We looked at some of his cartoons and watched a few videos to get inspired for our crazy inventions. If you are interested in creating a Rube Goldberg machine at home here are some tips.

  1. Decide on what your machine will do (ring a bell, turn on a light, pop a balloon, knock something over, etc.). Our goal was to ring a bell at the end of the machine. We had some large jingle bells left over from our STEAM club in December.

2. Start your machine at the end. Rube Goldberg machines have many steps that need to work together to complete a task. It is best to test each step as you build the machine. Several groups had to take apart the whole machine because the last step didn’t work.

3. Create several steps. Our goal was to create at least 3 steps. Most of the groups had many more steps. Having more steps makes it a whole lot of fun.

4. Be ready to fail a few times. Failure is an important part of this activity. This is where the learning happens and the fun begins!

Are you ready to create your own Rube Goldberg machine at home? Here is a list to get your started. Happy Building!

Books to inspire your building:

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