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How to Make a Rube Goldberg Machine

SAFETY FIRST: Ask an adult to help with tools you haven't used before.

A Rube Goldberg machine is any complex contraption that uses a chain reaction to perform a simple task.

HOW TO GET STARTED

Start at the End

Identify the simple task you want to achieve. You could turn off a light, open a door, pour a bowl of cereal, turn off an alarm clock, hammer a nail or pop a balloon. Be creative — and unique.

Make a Plan

Brainstorm a series of actions that will complete your task. Make a pin pop a balloon. Send a toy car down a ramp. Make dominoes fall. Draw a blueprint plan for what you expect to happen. The most important action will be the first step — that’s what starts the entire machine. Make sure your machine starts with a bang!

Gather Your Materials

You can use almost anything to create your Rube Goldberg machine. Here are some ideas: dominoes, fans, PVC pipe, magnets, duct tape, marbles, cups or bowls, miniature toy cars, paper towel tubes, string.

Piece by Piece

As you create your machine, follow your blueprint and place your materials where you think they need to be. Practice makes perfect, so don’t expect your Rube Goldberg machine to work perfectly the first time you try it. There will be plenty of trial and error — and that’s OK. Adjust your materials and keep at it.

10 WORKING RUBE GOLDBERG MACHINES

Here are videos of 10 working Rube Goldberg machines. If you make one of your own, use the form below to send us photos.


Submit a Photo of Your Project

Important Note: Please only upload photos of your project. Because of privacy rules, we can't post any photos that show people's faces. Always ask for your parent's permission before uploading anything to a website.

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