Name of Activity Final Project- Rube Goldberg Machine
Author STOMP
Keywords cause and effect, LEGO nxt programming, mental math, hands on, few instructions, final project
Subject NXTs, Non-LEGO
Grade Level 5
Time 2 Hours Total
Brief Description The Rube Goldberg machines are a great way to engage children in team work, cause and effect relationships, and resourceful thinking. The objective is to have some end target / object/ or goal that is a result of a series of domino-like chain reactions.
Lesson Objectives: We are going to split the class in half (6 people in 2 groups). Each group will have the opportunity to build any type of cause and effect machine with the end goal of making a paper airplane fly. They are only allowed to use all the resources we provide (or any related objects in class). One rule we are incorporating to finish off our LEGO NXT programming unit, is that the students have to include some sort of LEGO robot movement in their Rube Goldberg Machine. The objective to have both groups make the airplane fly with 2 original and unique engineering designs.
Materials Needed: Materials we are providing – LEGO nxt robots and computers to program, marbles, cups, dominos, string, balloons, books, rulers, balls.
Preparation and Set Up: 10 minutes (if robots are already built)
Necessary Background None
Procedure 1. Need to make an airplane fly with a cause and effect Rube Goldberg machine 2. Programming and robotics included – research Rube Goldberg machines and concepts 3. Kids solutions will vary 4. 2 groups will have the opportunity to redesign their projects on the last day of class Dec. 6th if needed 5. Prototypes will be designed and tested with materials provided 6. Testing the solutions at the end 7. Have the students draw out their designs and materials used in the prototype 8. Redesign (2nd lesson) Why did it work? Why did it not work?
Extensions: none
Modifications: none
Reference 1 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/Rube-Goldberg.docx

One Response to Rube Goldberg Machines (Final Project)

  1. We did this as our final project in a Types of Engineering unit, and the kids really enjoyed it. We modified it so that the kids had to press down the spacebar of a keyboard to play music as their final task. If you do this activity, make sure that you leave enough time to fit the the kids’ segments together, because it usually doesn’t work perfectly on the first try, and it’s much more rewarding for the kids if they have time to modify it and get a working project at the end.

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