A Second Look at Rube-Goldberg Machines

Last week, we shared a lesson on how to make your own Rube-Goldberg Machine and an overview of their relevance in STEM. If you haven’t seen it already check it out in our archive from July 30th, 2020! 

We would love to see what you have been able to come up with! We find your creativity inspiring and would like to share your amazing creations with the wider community. Please send any photos or videos of your unique Rube-Goldberg Machine to info.LINKS@yahoo.com for a chance to be featured on our website and social media platforms!

In the meantime, follow us on Instagram and Twitter to hear some exciting updates in the near future about our website 🙂


Today, we are examining the physics of common aspects of Rube-Goldberg Machines. Let us know if you have included any of the following elements in your own contraption!

LEVER: “A simple machine made of a rigid beam and a fulcrum

  • Rigid beam = a straight and unbending material such as a piece of wood
  • Fulcrum = the point where the beam pivots (balances of turns)
What is a lever simple machine

On a lever, an input force (load) is applied on one side of the beam and an output force called (effort) is applied on the other side. The beam goes up and down on the fulcrum as a result, allowing an object to be lifted. 

For more details on the various types of levers, visit this website: https://letstalkscience.ca/educational-resources/backgrounders/simple-machines-levers

INCLINED PLANE: “A flat surface tilted at an angle that aids in raising or lowering a load.”

An inclined plane is a flat surface titled at a certain angle which makes it easier to move something in a higher or lower position. Objects placed on an inclined plane may slide down depending on where they are situated and the angle of tilt of the flat surface. Objects that slide down an inclined plane have the force of gravity and an additional force acting on them. 

PULLEY: “a wheel over which a belt, rope, or chain is pulled to lift or lower a heavy object”

A pulley redirects force by using a rope (or other material) to change the position of an object. One pulls down on the rope to raise an item instead of pushing it upwards. Pulleys can be in a fixed position, moveable, compound (a combination of the two) and more. 

For a deeper understanding, try this free simulation: https://www.dkfindout.com/uk/science/simple-machines/pulleys/

Sources:

https://letstalkscience.ca/educational-resources/backgrounders/simple-machines-levers

https://www.physicsclassroom.com/class/vectors/Lesson-3/Inclined-Planes

https://www.teachengineering.org/makerchallenges/view/lau-2321-simple-machines-mechanisms-rube-goldberg-challenge

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/

https://inventorsoftomorrow.com/

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