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Are You Rube Goldberg?

A WebQuest for High School Technology Students

Designed by Jarius O. Acie








Gadgets and contraptions of all kinds were the forte of Rube Goldberg, who's cartoons have delighted people for most of the 20th and now 21st Century. His drawings poke fun at our obsession to take the hard rather than easy and obvious path to solving problems. These comical drawings actually were real inventions. A Rube Goldberg invention consists of simple machines and miscellaneous objects. If made, these complex and wacky inventions would solve a problem through an elaborate process that could ultimately be solve with just a simple solution. Every year, groups of students create these inventions to accomplish certain tasks for competition. How creative do you think you are?






  Your task is to research, design and create a Rube Goldberg     

  invention that utilizes all six simple machines.








You may work in pairs, each person will be responsible for researching, designing

and making the invention.

These are the steps that you should take in order to complete this project:

     1.) Think about what type of goals you want to achieve from this project;

          such as knocking over dominoes, creating a spark, or catapulting an

          object. Draw a sketch of the preliminary ideas.

     2.) Using the Internet, research simple machines websites that explain what

          simple machines are and how they work. Some sites are given in the

          RESOURCES section. Write a summary of your results with references.

     3.) Using the RESOURCES section, go to the different websites dedicated

          to Rube Goldbergs. Find other sites that show information on Rube

          Goldbergs, citing at least two. Explore the different projects that were

          designed. Write a summary of your results identifying simple machines

          used with references.

     4.) Create your Rube Goldberg. Create a final drawing of the Invention.

          Modify and tweak your design so that there is consistency in your


     5.) Digitally record your Invention performing successfully. Scan both the

          Preliminary drawings and Final drawing of the Invention onto the


     6.) Submit a Web page Report using the template found in the RESOURCES.







  The following is a list of links that will aid with your research and

  development of your summaries and Rube Golberg Inventions.


  Rube Goldberg Machine Contest


  Simple Machines

  Web page Template







The student evaluation will be based on their research, design, creation of invention and the web page. The following is the rubric for this WebQuest.







By participating in this WebQuest, the student will have been exposed to the design process in detail. The student will also learn how to manipulate simple machines to perform multiple tasks for a desired outcome. In engineering, majority of the time, the simplest method is usually the best method. This project gives the student first hand experience how complicated projects can be if simple steps are overlooked!