3 Ways Rube Goldberg Machines Can Engage Your Students

Diomedes Gonzalez
PD Specialist
News on August 27 2021

Looking for a fun and extravagant way to stretch your students’ creativity? Or perhaps you want to exercise their social skills?  Then the challenge you have been looking for may be building Rube Goldberg machines. A Rube Goldberg machine is a fun, outrageous, and wacky invention that performs a simple task. The process requires bizarre methods that challenge students’ problem-solving skills while encouraging outside the box thinking. Read on to learn more about why you should consider building Rube Goldberg machines at your school.

1. Increase student social interaction

Students are super tech-savvy and highly engaged in the world of technology through social media and gaming. This comes at the cost, as it isolates them from the experience of socializing with their peers in person. What’s great about creating a Rube Goldberg machine is that it allows students to disengage from their devices while simultaneously immersing them in a highly engaging activity. Additionally, students can work together in teams to create their machine. Teamwork on a Rube Goldberg machine increases social interaction, collaboration, and critical thinking skills. Students will experience a great deal of trial and error, which in turn will require them to communicate with each other to achieve their desired result.

2. Enhance creative problem solving

The engineering design process enables students to develop a discerning, scientific mindset when dealing with problems. Creating Rube Goldberg inventions sparks all the skills required of an engineer, including creative problem solving. Although the task may be simple, like opening a book, the diversity of materials utilized to perform that specific task won’t always lead to instant success. This process requires a great deal of creative problem solving on the students’ behalf as they strive to make each piece function in accordance with a common goal.

3. Exercise accountability

Accountability is crucial as it teaches students the importance of taking ownership over their choices and decision making. While inventing a Rube Goldberg machine is a lot of fun, it also demands continuous trial and error. Students are responsible for the invention from start to finish, and required to work effectively as a team in order to perform the task. As a result, students will learn the impact of developing and maintaining a reliable decision- making process.

 

With these elements in mind, it is easy to see how Rube Goldberg machines can be a great asset to your classroom instruction! To learn more about integrating Rube Goldberg machines into your curriculum, check out our enrichment course on our online professional development platform OTIS for Educators. While you are there, check out some of our other courses in our STEM category on OTIS. For other resources or possible lesson plans for Rube Goldberg machines, check out the Rube Goldberg Foundation website.

 

 


For more tips, tricks, and tools for teaching in and out of the classroom, check out more articles on the Teq Talk blog.

We also offer virtual professional development, training, and remote learning support for educators with OTIS for educators. Explore the technology, tools, and strategies that can spark student success — no matter where teaching or learning are happening.


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