Rube Goldberg was an American cartoonist of the early 20th century. He drew cartoons that exemplified the most inefficient, complex, means of completing a task. Here is a web page with an example cartoon and more information, Image01 (link), Image02 (link). (The British have their version of a “Rube Goldberg” style artist. His name was Heath Robinson.)
You are applying for job where you are to use your brain to find creative solutions to problems. The company you are applying to wants to see how well you work in a group and your creativity. To examine these behaviors, they have come with this contest for their final selection of applicants. Congratulations on making it this far and good luck.
To build an inefficient, yet functioning, machine that can put toothpaste on the bristles of a tooth brush.
- Contestants are allowed to work in teams of up to 2 people. You may work with anyone in this class.
- The machine does not have to automatically reset itself.
- You need to be able to set up your machine for the contest in under 10 minutes. All participants will set up their devices at the same time. After this setup period all machines will be demonstrated one after another.
- The machine should complete its task within 4 minutes. (Most tend to take less than a minute.)
- Points awarded are based upon:
- A “step” is a transfer of energy from a group of like objects to another object or from a single object to single object.
- HAVING AT LEAST 5 ENERGY TRANSFERS.
- Turning in a list of the machine’s steps
- Creativity of steps
- Number of times you give the machine help -this deducts points.
- Machine’s Design Creativity
- Following the rules
- Setting up and removing the machine according to the established times.
- NO explosives, fire, CO2 cartridges, smoke, knives, razor blades, dangerous flying objects, or dangerous/toxic chemicals are allowed. When in doubt, ask before building.
- You may not use anything that plugs into a wall outlet. Battery power adding up but not more than 9 Volts is all that is allowed. No car, motorcycle or lawnmower, or PowerWheel™, gel-cell or lead acid type batteries are allowed.
- Your machine may not incorporate any living animals, e.g. hamsters, guinea pigs, domesticated goldfish, feral goldfish, baby elephants, etc.
- The contest is run during the class period.
- No humans may touch your machine after you have started its motion. (It is expected that you will touch it for it to begin working.)
- Points are awarded if the device is set up at the beginning of class and must be removed by the appointed time. This is usually the next class period.
- No commercial Rube Goldberg’ish products, such as the game "Mouse Trap," are allowed.
- It must be built on a rigid base at least 20 inches by 30 inches and be less than 36 inches tall. ( A piece of foam core board is typically 20” x 30”.)
2 grades for this activity.
Physical Project Evaluation Rubric
For turning in a machine that follows the rules above
Each energy transfer -up to 5
For successfully putting toothpaste on the bristles of the toothbrush.
Going to Do’s
Completeness (Final project should be completely documented in the journal.)
Quality of, “RANT’s,” Reflect, Analyze, NexT
High quality rants have more possible solutions.
These two percentages do not add up to 100%. They add up to 90%. To get the extra points you need to WOW me.