The Rube Goldberg Design Project


Students in Mr. Meek’s design class had about a month to create their own Rube Goldberg project. A Rube Goldberg machine is an invention or device that is over-engineered to perform a simple task, usually using a chain reaction. The expression is named after American cartoonist and inventor Rube Goldberg (1883–1970). The students had to create five to seven chain reactions to make an outcome. This project helped the students to develop teamwork and patience.


Mr. Meeks Interview:

How long did the students have to build their machine?

“They had about four weeks.”

What skills do the students develop during this assignment?

“They develop patience and teamwork, they have to keep going, and use their imagination.”

What’s the objective of this assignment?

“To plan and design their (student’s) own Rube Goldberg machine.”

Mr Meeks Story

Do you think it was challenging?

“I definitely think it was challenging. They had to do five to seven different reactions, so one had to trigger another. There was limited space, so they only had two foot by three foot space to do that in. And I had some materials that they could use, but they brought in a lot of their own stuff and came up with their own ideas.”


What will your students be doing next?

“The students are going to be asked to create their own invention. They’ll be asked to present their invention in front of the class kind of like the show Shark Tank. This unit is based on famous inventors.”


We also interviewed Abby Arata, an eighth grade student in Mr. Meeks’s design class.

Was this project challenging?

“Yeah but it was more challenging to come up with an idea. Then we had to make them work.”

What were you trying to accomplish?

“We were basically trying to make a big chain reaction so it would pop a balloon.”