Published using Google Docs
Rube Goldberg Machine Competition
Updated automatically every 5 minutes


Rube Goldberg Machine Competition


What is a Rube Goldberg Machine?        1

Examples of Rube Goldberg Machines        2

Competition Guidelines        3

Getting Started        4

Prizes        5

Submitting Your Video        6

What is a Rube Goldberg Machine?

Named after an American cartoonist, a Rube Goldberg Machine is a contraption that uses chain reactions to perform a simple task in a complicated way.

Think of falling dominoes! One task causes the next to happen, and so on.

Picture from: Planning Above and Beyond

Examples of Rube Goldberg Machines:

Rube Goldberg Machines can do any task you want, as long as you can build it.  For your video, you’ll be allowed to pick any task, such as watering a plant, ringing your doorbell, feeding your pet, spelling out a word, and so many more!

Here are some examples for inspiration. You can also google “Rube Goldberg Machines” to get more ideas, but do not copy another person’s machine or else we will automatically disqualify your submission. We want to see your own work!

“How to Pass the Salt While Maintaining Proper Social Distancing” - Joseph Herscher of Joseph’s Machines

The following pictures are from Design Boom:

Competition Guidelines:

Here at GT SWE Elementary School Outreach, we are looking for creative young minds that can devise a Rube Goldberg machine with the ability to complete at least one simple task. Submit a video of your machine in action for a chance to win some awesome prizes (Page 5)!

To enter the competition, you must submit a video of your Rube Goldberg Machine in action according to the following guidelines:

Other important notes:

Getting Started

Have no idea where to start? Never fear, SWE is here to help!

Check out this resource by Tinker Labs on what kind of materials you can use. You can find a lot of these in your very own home.

For some ideas on what you can do with your materials, watch this informative YouTube video. It’s a bit old, but it has some great techniques you can use to get started on your machine!

Writing a paper? Here’s a crash course from NASA on some important (and pretty cool!) physics concepts:

Newton’s 1st Law: If an object is not moving, it will not start moving by itself. If an object is moving, it will not stop or change direction unless something pushes it.

Newton’s 2nd Law: Objects will move farther and faster when they are pushed harder.

Newton’s 3rd Law: When an object is pushed in one direction, there is always a resistance of the same size in the opposite direction.

Feel free to read these resources on The Physics Classroom to gain a better understanding of these concepts!

What is Gravity? A very strong force of attraction between two objects. It is what keeps us grounded to Earth as we fall, jump, and move!

These are just some of the topics you can address in your paper, but know that you don’t have to be an expert about these in order to win the prize! 😉


Submitting Your Video:

When you are ready, submit your video (and paper, if applicable) at this link. The competition will officially run from February 20 to March 20, during our Spring Video Series, but you can start submitting as soon as you want.

We will announce the winners on Saturday, April 3 during our last Spring Video Series video, so mark your calendars! If you have questions or need more clarification, email us at, and we’ll be happy to help.