Notes to the teacher and lesson plan
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Notes to the teacher and lesson plan. Have the students create an 8 panel foldable for notes on simple machines. Objective: Create a Rube Goldberg Invention. Rube Goldberg. This is Webster’s definition:

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Notes to the teacher and lesson plan

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Notes to the teacher and lesson plan

  • Have the students create an 8 panel foldable for notes on simple machines

Objective: Create a Rube Goldberg Invention

Rube Goldberg

  • This is Webster’s definition:

  • A contrivance or method to accomplish an apparently simple task in an extremely complex way

  • So much for the K.I.S.S. method!

  • (Keep It Simple Sweetie)

Who was Rube Goldberg?

  • He lived at the turn of the last century.

  • He loved poking fun at all of the “modern” conveniences that were being developed at the beginning of the 20th century.

A little more about Mr.Goldberg…

  • Reuben Lucius Goldberg studied at the University of California at Berkeley.

  • After graduating in 1904, he started working as a sports cartoonist for the San Francisco Chronicle.

  • In 1907 he moved to New York after selling his Sunday half-page strip 'Mike and Ike'. This comic didn't generated much response.

  • He eventually landed a job at the New York Evening Mail.

  • Apart from drawing comics, he also took a shot at vaudeville, becoming a stand-up comedian and fortune-teller in 1911!

  • Rube Goldberg gets his think-tank working and evolves the simplified pencil-sharpener.

  •     Open window (A) and fly kite (B).  String (C) lifts small door (D) allowing moths (E) to escape and eat red flannel shirt (F).   As weight of shirt becomes less, shoe (G) steps on switch (H) which heats electric iron (I) and burns hole in pants (J).   Smoke (K) enters hole in tree (L), smoking out opossum (M) which jumps into basket (N), pulling rope (O) and lifting cage (P), allowing woodpecker (Q) to chew wood from pencil (R), exposing lead.  Emergency knife (S) is always handy in case opossum or the woodpecker gets sick and can't work.

Rube Goldberg has inspired many inventors….

  • Enjoy this short movie

  • It’s meant to be an elaborate way to get a very simple thing done

Safety Device for Walking on Icy Sidewalks

Rube Goldberg, himself

  • Rube liked poking fun at all of the modern conveniences that were being developed at the turn of the century.

  • Here’s a little movie featuring Rube called “Something from Nothing”

  • As you watch, think about what the title means

    See if you can identify the assumption that we all know is not true, but they thought it was true back in 1940!

Something From Nothing

With your partner, choose one of the three Rube Goldberg drawings and describe each step…

  • The Self Opening Umbrella

  • The Automatic Back Scratcher

  • The Self Operating Napkin

  • Make sure that you list all of the steps!

  • You will have 5 minutes to write the narrative

The Self Opening Umbrella

  • With your partner, describe what is happening in each of the steps A-R

The Automatic Back Scratcher

  • With your partner, describe what is happening in each of the steps A-M

The Self Operating Napkin

  • With your partner, describe what is happening in each of the steps A-M

The Mission

  • You will create a Rube Goldberg Invention.

  • You may work with one other person or you can work alone.

  • The project will be worth 200 points

  • Rube Goldberg Machine in Action

Simple Machines

  • Simple Machines (40 points)

  • Is there evidence of:

  • pulley (10) List step _______________

  • wheel (10) List step________________

  • inclined plane(includes screw or wedge) (10) List step_________________

  • lever (10) List step______________________

Wheel and Axles, Inclined Plane and Levers (Check out the catapult!)

How does a pulley work?

Complexity, Originality and Humor

  • Complexity, Originality and Humor (40 points)

  • are no animals or humans harmed? (5)

  • does it bring a smile to someone’s face?(5)

  • do all of the pulleys, levers, wheels and gear move in the correct direction?(5)

  • does the task have at least 12 steps? (10)

  • The task is simple but the steps are complex(10)

  • Colorful (5)

Written and Oral Presentation

  • Written/Oral Presentation (60 points)

  • ______Detailed diagram with tasks neatly described at each step (20)

  • ______Oral description and knowledge of the mechanics of simple machines (20)

  • ______Presentation and drawing have humor, creativity, complexity and originality. (20)


  • Choose an item that you would like to have assessed for style. You must write a paragraph on the back of the rubric sheet describing the style. Perhaps it is particularly funny or absurd. Maybe it is well done artwork, an unusual combination or a clever title. This is worth 35 points.

An example of student work

Any Questions?

  • You will have 2 class periods to finish this assignment.

  • You may use the art supplies I have provided, please take good care of them: cap all glue sticks, cap all pens, put colored pencils and crayons back in their boxes.

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