This project challenges students to build a simple, mechanical Rube Goldberg-type machine. All the energy involved should be mechanical energy, so no thermal energy, electrical energy, or electromagnetic energy is allowed.
The general approach is to provide some level of excitement around the possibilities by showing students some of the resources noted below, or videos of past classes' work. Then explain the criteria for the activity, the resources available and the constraints (such as time and space).
We have provided an example Student Information handout with a fair level of detail as a starting point. You will need to customize this for your own situation depending on your particular goals and time constraints.
Design and build a working machine.
Use tools effectively to manipulate common materials.
Sensors and Equipment
No probeware required for this experiment.
Next Generation Science Standards
Disciplinary Core Ideas
PS3.B Conservation of Energy and Energy Transfer (HS-PS3)
Cause and Effect
Systems and System Models
Energy and Matter
Science and Engineering Practices
Asking Questions and Defining Problems
Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions
Experiment 16 from Physics Explorations and Projects Lab Book
Included in the Lab Book
Vernier lab books include word-processing files of the student instructions, essential teacher information, suggested answers, sample data and graphs, and more.