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Transcript of Rube Goldberg
A bit of Rube
Rube Goldberg (1883-1970) was a Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist best known for his zany invention cartoons. He was born in San Francisco on the 4th of July, 1883 – and graduated from U. Cal Berkeley with a degree in engineering. His first job at the San Francisco Chronicle led to early success, but it wasn’t until he moved to NYC and began working for Hearst publications that he became a household name. Rube Goldberg is the only person ever to be listed in the Merriam Webster Dictionary as an adjective. It’s estimated that he did a staggering 50,000 cartoons in his lifetime.
Rube Goldberg Project
Activity 1.5 - Rube Goldberg Device
Rube Goldberg was a famous Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist, sculptor, and author. He was famous for his depiction of extremely complicated inventions doing simple tasks, using intricate mechanical devices and outlandish components. His cartoons were examples of “man’s capacity for exerting the maximum labor to achieve minimum results and provided a humorous diversion into the wonders of technology.”
Wheel and Axle
Your team will be designing and building a “Rube Goldberg” mechanical device. This device will be a subsystem within the larger system. It will demonstrate the principles of the six simple machines in a fun and inventive way. The transfer of energy in your device will travel a specific path from start to finish for a minimum of 3 seconds. The device must be self-powered utilizing potential energy. There is to be no human intervention after the device is started. Counterweights can be used but must be a part of the original design. No batteries or electrical power can be used. The device must be capable of repeated demonstrations without long set-up times in between. Remember, Rube would never do anything in a straightforward, easy way.
Systems and Subsystems
Rube Goldberg Grading Criteria
Linear Design Plan
Prezi - Including
Title of Project
Linear Design Plan
List of simple machines with pictures
Evidence of each phase
Autodesk Rube Assembly
Final Plan (if changes were made)
Rube Goldberg Assembly for Autodesk
Rube Goldberg Model or prototype
Rube Goldberg Worksheet(s)-Physics
Rube Goldberg Self Assessment
small paper cups (such as Dixie cups)
paper towel tubes
jumbo paper clips
Rube Goldberg Materials list
Linear Design Plan
Students will demonstrate their understanding of Physics not only through the
planning and construction process but also through a detailed analysis of their finished
machine. A Rube Goldberg Build is a rigorous, meaningful culminating project because of
the way it can challenge students to connect, combine, and explain Physics concepts. While one can expect great diversity in the complexity, structure, and sequence of students’machines, outstanding work demonstrates understanding of the following six Physics
These themes include:
A) Describing types of motion
B) Describing displacement, velocity, & acceleration
C) Describing forces involve
D) Describing energy transfers
E) Describing collisions in term of momentum
F) Describing consequences of the conservation of energy and conservation of
1 Windup robot toy is released. Toy moves rightward across platform, knocking the ball off the platform.
2 The ball rolls off of the platform and falls into cup A. This upsets the balance of the Atwood Machine,
causing cup A to accelerate downward while cup B accelerates upward.
3 Cup B knocks the left side of the lever upwards. The lifting up of the left side of the lever causes a steel
marble to roll downwards into the set of marble tracks.
4 The marble zigzags down the angled tracks. During the first section, the marble rolls through a set of
chimes of varying length. After the last ramp, the steel marble collides with a lighter steel ball.
5 The ball rolls from the angled tracks into a funnel where it falls onto the trigger of a mousetrap.
6 The mousetrap goes off, with its metal arm swinging from left to right.
7 The clothespin is squeezed open by the swinging arm of the mousetrap, releasing a string.
8 The released string causes the weight on the opposite side of the pulley system to accelerate downwards.
9 The downward accelerating mass collides with the arm of a rotating lever. The bottom lever spins
counter-clockwise, knocking into the arm of the lever above it. The levers continue to spin, transferring
the energy upward to the top lever.
10 The top lever swings into a domino, beginning another chain of falling dominoes. The final domino
collides with a ball from a Newton’s Cradle toy that sits perched on the platform with the dominoes.
11 The first ball of the Newton’s Cradle swings into the other four balls. The rightmost ball swings
forward, knocking into a domino on the adjacent platform where they initiate another chain of domino
collisions, eventually knocking into a marble.
12 The marble rolls down through the curved tubing into the left compartment of a lever.
13 The weight of the marble causes the left side of the lever to move. The upward motion of the right side
of the lever lifts the rod that supports the platform above.
14 The left side of the platform lifts upwards, causing the car to roll downwards from left to right,
eventually falling into a cup that is attached to a string and pulley system.
15 The car falling into the cup causes the cup to accelerate downwards. The string