As regular readers know, I’m a fan of Rube Goldberg Machines (see The Best Resources For Learning About Rube Goldberg Machines).
Earlier this week, I saw some of my IB Theory of Knowledge students showing videos of machines they had created in Physics class, and thought they were pretty neat.
I asked our school’s talented Physics teacher, Arthur Sisneros, if he would mind writing a description of his lesson, and also invited teachers to share their videos.
Here’s Arthur’s description, along with a few student videos (I’ll be adding more as students remember to send them to me!):
The Rube Goldberg project is meant to be a summative assessment for my first semester. Like most physics classes, my first semester of physics is dominated by motion (kinematics, forces, momentum, and mechanical energy). I introduce the Rube Goldberg project at the end as an engineering project. We talk about engineering vs. science (defining problems and solving problems as opposed to asking questions and developing explanations). I also require them to include a theme and to be creative. After the project is built, I require them to isolate a few of the events, measure them (distance, time, mass, or whatever they need to measure), and use those measurements to calculate various quantities (average velocity, acceleration, force, etc.). On the presentation day, I have students do a gallery walk to see the other projects, and I conduct group interviews where I delve a little deeper into the understanding of the major physics topics.