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NGSS Engineering Design: Rube Goldberg Machines (Motion & Stability)

Grade Levels
K - 8th
Formats Included
  • PDF
24 pages
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This is by far my most favorite STEM unit to teach! This also works great for distant learning and I have been over the moon with the results (examples included in the product). And if you don't know what a Rube Goldberg Machine is, no need to worry, I created a scripted, detailed unit for teachers.

Combine NGSS engineering design, motion/stability and forces and interactions standards into one unit by teaching Rube Goldberg Machines! In this unit students will create their own Rube Goldberg Machine after learning about chain reactions, simple machines, forces and interactions and motion and stability. This resource is jam packed with content. You will find:

  1. Standards
  2. Simple Machine Examples (video and image)
  3. Rube Goldberg Machines Examples (video and image)
  4. Part One: Chain Reaction (links to videos)
  5. Part Two: Simple Machines
  6. Part Three: Simple Machines
  7. Part Four: Engineering Design
  8. Part Five: Showcase & Share
  9. STEM Lesson Rubric
  10. Student Pages
  11. Material List
  12. Who is Rube Goldberg?
  13. Video Notes
  14. Chain Reaction
  15. Simple Machine Scavenger Hunt
  16. Video Notes
  17. Engineering Design
  18. Student Reflection Page

I had a blast creating this resource, because it has a been a huge source of joy in my classroom! I hope you enjoy it as well.

If you are search for more virtual resources, make sure to check out:

I have also been documenting my journey teaching virtual STEM classes, make sure to check out my blog for more tried and tested activities:


Happy Teaching!

Total Pages
24 pages
Answer Key
Included with rubric
Teaching Duration
1 Week
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Apply Newton’s Third Law to design a solution to a problem involving the motion of two colliding objects. Examples of practical problems could include the impact of collisions between two cars, between a car and stationary objects, and between a meteor and a space vehicle. Assessment is limited to vertical or horizontal interactions in one dimension.
Plan an investigation to provide evidence that the change in an object’s motion depends on the sum of the forces on the object and the mass of the object. Emphasis is on balanced (Newton’s First Law) and unbalanced forces in a system, qualitative comparisons of forces, mass and changes in motion (Newton’s Second Law), frame of reference, and specification of units. Assessment is limited to forces and changes in motion in one-dimension in an inertial reference frame, and to change in one variable at a time. Assessment does not include the use of trigonometry.
Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.
Make observations and/or measurements of an object’s motion to provide evidence that a pattern can be used to predict future motion. Examples of motion with a predictable pattern could include a child swinging in a swing, a ball rolling back and forth in a bowl, and two children on a see-saw. Assessment does not include technical terms such as period and frequency.
Plan and carry out fair tests in which variables are controlled and failure points are considered to identify aspects of a model or prototype that can be improved.


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