Rube Goldberg Machines
iBlock Objective:

Rube Goldberg Machines accomplish a simple task through an elaborately humorous and overcomplicated method. In this iBlock, challenge your students to think outside the box and discover the unexpected kinetic properties in everyday objects as they design their own Rube Goldberg Machine (RGM). In order to build their contraption, students will research and explore simple machines and chain reactions and how they both relate to the world around them. From ideation to interaction, students will engage in creative thinking, critical reasoning, and teamwork as they engineer these truly unique machines.

  • Grade Band: 3-5, 6-8, 9-12
  • Primary Focus: Problem Solving and Engineering (Elementary, Middle) / Engineering and Physics (High)
  • Secondary Focus: Design and ELA (Elementary, Middle) / ELA and Business (High)
  • Additional Foci: Advanced Literacy, Transferable Skills, Social-Emotional Learning
  • Possible Suggested Technologies: littleBits, Cubelets, Sphero, 3D printer, etc.
  • Related Industry Sectors: Scientific Research & Engineering; Arts, Media, & Entertainment


An iBlock matches skills to standards (like Common Core or NGSS).

Here is a sample content standard for this iBlock:

Make observations to provide evidence that energy is conserved as it is transferred and/or converted from one form to another. (4-PS3-2.)