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Homemade Rube Goldberg Machine

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Homemade Rube Goldberg Machine

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 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


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