Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

The Best Resources For Learning About Rube Goldberg Machines


'Maker Faire 2009: Lego Rube Goldberg machine' photo (c) 2009, Chris - license:

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:

Rube Goldberg Photobooth from Crawford & Nelson on Vimeo.

Melvin The Magical Mixed Media Machine from HEYHEYHEY on Vimeo.

Melvin the Machine by HEYHEYHEY from Dezeen on Vimeo.

Boy, The New York Times sure gave me a bunch of additions to The Best Resources For Learning About Rube Goldberg Machines.

They have a feature article on a man who designs them, and interactive feature on one of his creations, and links to several videos, including:

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?

Cow from Nova Jiang on Vimeo.

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:

You don’t see this everyday — the Passover story told through a Rube Goldberg Machine.

Feedback is welcome.

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Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.


  1. Pingback: Best Resources For Learning About Rube Goldberg Machines « Leetl's Weblog

  2. Fantastic! Thank you so much for assembling these videos!

  3. Pingback: MiddleWeb's Latest Middle Grades Education Resources | MiddleWeb

  4. Hi Larry, since you wrote this a lot has happened in the Rube Goldberg world. Rube’s granddaughter, Jennifer George, wrote a fantastic coffee table book, The Art of Rube Goldberg, published by Abrams ComicArts. And a new official Rube Goldberg educational game is available for iOS and Android, “Rube Works: The Official Rube Goldberg Invention Game”. Adding the game to a unit on Rube Goldberg is especially helpful for students since they get to build Rube’s actual contraptions in the app. More at

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