Rube Goldberg machines are incredibly complex machines designed to do one simple task. They’re a lot of fun to build and to watch, and offer engaging ways for students to learn about science. Designing (on paper or in real-life), building or just viewing them can also provide great language learning opportunities (Dave Dodgson recently wrote about a similar lesson he did with his class).
Here are my choices for The Best Resources For Learning About Rube Goldberg Machines:
I’ll start off with links where students can create virtual Rube Goldberg Machines online:
Goldburger To Go comes from PBS.
Build a Rube Goldberg Machine is from Foss Web.
Google has recently created an interactive where you sort of can build a Rube Goldberg Machine. You can read more about it at this TechCrunch post.
You can sort of build a Rube Goldberg-like machine at Tinker Ball.
Here are some great video examples:
Boy, The New York Times sure gave me a bunch of additions to The Best Resources For Learning About Rube Goldberg Machines.
Here are two Rube Goldberg machines built by Target. I especially like the second one focusing on fresh food — it’s ideal for reinforcing vocabulary with English Language Learners (show the video and have students identify what they are seeing):
A first grader created a Rube Goldberg Machine. That in itself makes this a neat video to watch. The “kicker,” though, is that he makes some explicit connections to the scientific method, too:
Here’s a Mythbusters Rube Goldberg Machine:
Watch the world’s most extraordinary ‘kinetic sculpture’ at The Guardian.
A cow’s digestive system as a Rube Goldberg Machine?
Thanks to Amy Erin Borovoy for this video of a dog-powered Rube Goldberg Machine:
2 Rube Goldberg Machines is an interactive with video and questions created by Renée Maufroid.
Here’s a Rube Goldberg Machine powered by light:
Feedback is welcome.