Chain Reaction II

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In this hands-on activity, learners use an assortment of (mainly household) items to complete Rube Goldberg-type challenges. Leaners use items from around their house to build a device that will complete a task through the use of chain reactions. This activity explores basic physics concepts (such as inertia, gravity, force, and motion) and engineering. Activity includes a step-by-step guide for facilitation as well as a short video explaining how the activity is used in a museum setting. This activity can be done at home and can be done alone or collaboratively with peers and/or caregivers.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per student

Age Range:
Ages 4 - adult

Resource Type:


Materials List (per student)

  • Paper towel/toilet paper tubes
  • Rubber bands
  • Plastic spoons
  • String
  • Toy building blocks
  • Ping pong balls (to serve as object to be moved by machine)
  • Plastic cups
  • Tape
  • Cut up pool noodles
  • Paper clips
  • Styrofoam
  • Cardboard
  • Slinkies
  • Popsicle sticks


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Mechanical Engineering
  • The Nature of Technology
    • The Design Process
      • Invention and Innovation
      • Problem Solving


Components that are part of this resource:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


Funding Source:

  • Noyce Foundation

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