Rube Goldberg Machines in Year 3


Complicated machines for simple tasks – invent and build with Year 3!

Students in Year 3 created Rube Goldberg machines, practicing inquisitive and reflective learning skills. Term 2 introduced Year 3 students to a new unit of learning: ‘Discovering Our World: Inventions’. Through a number of design and technology lessons, Year 3 students have been busy learning how to make a simple chain reaction mechanism in order to create their own ‘Rube Goldberg’ machine. These contraptions were named after the cartoonist who deliberately designed overly complicated machines to perform simple tasks. If you’ve ever set up a line of dominoes to then push one down and watch them all fall in line, then you’ve also made a Rube Goldberg machine! Pop the name into any search engine and thousands of different homemade versions will appear, from simple to extravagant.

Throughout the term, Year 3 students have learned how to create a domino run, add in tunnels and marbles, as well as how to create their own pulley system. Now, the final hurdle is to put all of these elements together to create the ultimate, and creative, ‘Rube Goldberg’ machine. Along with the many design and technology skills that the students have been focusing on, they have also had to harness their own growth mindset, persevering despite repeated failures. It has been a wonderful experience for the students to face different challenges, respond and adapt to failures and demonstrate their collaboration skills.

Could you create your own Rube Goldberg machine at home?