Rube Goldberg


You and your team of researchers are building an elaborate Rube Goldberg machine that will activate or deactivate a device. You and your team are required you to create a complex machine to accomplish this simple task that lasts approximately 15 seconds. More specifically, create a Rube Goldberg machine to better understand the physics of simple machines.


Each school will have a limit of 6 entries into the Rube Goldberg competition.


To build a complex machine that will accomplish the simple task of activating or deactivating a device (flipping a switch, turning something on or off or pressing a button), by using at least five of the six simple machines with a minimum of ten steps and 15 seconds.


  1. Maximum Dimensions: a base of 1m x ½ m and a max height of 1m 
  2. Each team of 3-4 students must plan out in detail each of the steps of their Rube Goldberg machine.
  3. Creating a list of procedures of the steps and how the steps were constructed.
  4. Each stage of development will require a blueprint.  
    1. Blueprints cover 3-4 steps of the machine at a time.  
    2. Included in the blueprints should be the type of simple machine(s), the materials that will make up the machine(s), the approximate measurements of the different segments of the whole machine, and the procedures for construction of the machine and procedures on how it will work. Basically, how will each step lead to the next?


  1. Each team will get their list of materials checked by their school’s Fair supervising teacher prior to starting construction.  
    1. No flames or open fire of any kind are permitted.  
    2. No intentionally flying outside the dimensions of the project. It is understood that sometimes things go wrong and fall off where they are not intended.  
    3. If your Machine has either of these it will be disqualified.


  1. Your team will be performing a demonstration of the completed machine.
  2. The team will also be giving a descriptive presentation of your choice along with the demonstration. (Time of presentation 3-5 minutes)
  3. Included in the presentation should be pictures, video, diagrams, and blueprints of the project. These could be in the logbook, or you could do a digital presentation.
  4. Teams will explain what went well, and what difficulties the team had with generation of ideas or construction.


  1. Your team should try to come-up with creative ways of using as many of the simple machines as possible.
  2. Your project should stand out, you want the judges to say “You need to see that one!”

Judges marking Sheet