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Who is Rube Goldberg? He is best known for his "Inventions" cartoons, which use a string of outlandish tools, people, plants, and steps to accomplish everyday simple tasks in the most complicated way. It's a chain reaction that occurs to make something happen (think of the game mousetrap). Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Rube Goldberg's drawings point out that people are often overwhelmed by over complicating their lives.
The study of simple machines and how they work have been a part of most science curriculum for many years. Looking into how they have improved our world and how these machines work together can be exciting for both the student and the teacher. The following activities will help to direct you beyond the "simple machine vocabulary", extending your thinking process and showing you the real usefulness of simple machines. By looking at and researching everyday appliances or toys and discovering they are comprised of a collection of simple machines, you will gain a better understanding of each type. You will also learn how simple machines create useful devices we use in our daily lives. To bring the discovery all together, you will create a new machine whose job will be to complete an everyday task. The key to your new machines is that it has to be "Rube Goldberg" like in design. That is, you need to see how many different simple machines you can use to complete a simple everyday task.
• Design a device to solve simple everyday tasks that use maximum effort to achieve minimal results.
• Build a compound machine out of a collection of simple machines.
Materials to create simple machines.
Cost depends on the materials. Classrooms can use recyclable materials to reduce cost.
Students can develop a Rube Goldberg on their own or work in a team.
One submission per project.