Homemade Rube Goldberg Machine

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In this fun and, at times, hilarious force and motion activity, learners will use household objects to build a crazy contraption and see how far they can get a tennis ball to move. This is an excellent activity to explore all of the various forces that can act upon an object. Try visiting www.rube-goldberg.com for inspiration for your contraption.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
1 to 2 hours

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 4 - adult

Resource Type:


Materials List (per group of students)

  • kitchen gadgets
  • tools
  • string
  • rubber bands
  • tennis ball or racquetball
  • fasteners, like Velcro or tape
  • lots of space!


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Mechanical Engineering
  • Physical Sciences
    • Energy
      • Potential and Kinetic Energy
    • Motion and Forces
      • Machines
      • Gravity
      • Momentum and Velocity
      • Acceleration
      • Projectile Motion
      • Newton's Laws
  • The Nature of Technology
    • The Design Process
      • Invention and Innovation
      • Problem Solving
      • Troubleshooting and Maintenance

Informal Categories

  • Toys


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • be mobile
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Uses STEM to solve real-world problems
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


Source Collection

  • Family Programs & Camps


  • All rights reserved, COSI Columbus, 2009