Select Page

Rube Goldberg

Teachers: Please complete a registration for each project you are sending to the STEM and History Expo.

Definition: A Rube Goldberg assembly, contraption, invention, device, or apparatusis a deliberately over-engineered or overdone machine that performs a very simple task in a very complex fashion, usually including a chain reaction. The expression is named after American cartoonist and inventor Rube Goldberg (1883-1970). This is a non-competitive event for students in grades TK-12. Students who participate and meet the minimum requirements will receive an award for participation.

Minimum Requirements

  • A successful Rube Goldberg entry must have the following:
    A minimum of 10 ’cause and effect’ steps
  • Inclusion of three simple machines (e.g. lever, wheel and axle, pulley, incline plane, screw, wedge)
  • Written sequential procession from beginning to final step

Additional judging will be based on the following:

  • Device has a clearly identified task
  • Initialization of sequence is simple and straightforward
  • Use of several types of physical forces (inertia, gravity, friction, combustion, stored energy. etc.
  • Operational procession clearly labeled in alphabetic sequence
  • Simple machines identified correctly with indications of direction of force
  • Device’s construction has specific theme, or specific grouping of materials are used in constructions
  • Device runs fully to completion with little or no outside intervention
  • Complexity of device
  • Thought was given to reset time and effort required
  • Multiple paths of events occur and rejoin