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Student Work: Rube Goldberg Machines

March 9th, 2017

{photo by Nikol Rochez}

We love to highlight student work here on the blog (and frankly, we don’t do it often enough!). Our UMS students finished up their Rube Goldberg machines not too long ago, and today we have several goodies to share – three videos, photos taken by a student on his GoPro, and photos taken by a parent who popped in to one of the classes. Mrs. LaBine, our UMS Science teacher, shared the following about how the projects went:

We did Rube Goldberg projects in UMS this trimester!  The students worked in pairs on small segments of each class' overall machine.  Between the five classes, students tried to make a high five machine, pop a balloon, turn on a water faucet, hit enter on a keyboard, and catapult a marble.  Progress was made in all classes, but the class that hit enter on a keyboard was the only one to claim a successful start to finish run of their machine!

Students had to make the components from materials in the classroom, and each segment had to incorporate two simple machines.  The students applied their creativity, making screw ramps out of paper plates, making trap doors, and rigging up pulley systems to transport and connect one segment of the machine to another.  I was especially impressed by the problems solving and collaboration I witnessed in the classroom.  The groups had to make sure that their segment connected to the team before theirs and the team after theirs, and to make the connections work, some teams ended up largely changing their original plans.  However, I heard little to no grumbling or complaining, and by the last day of the project, classes were begging to keep working to try to finish working out the kinks of their designs!  Alas, we had to move on to their invention convention projects and presentations, where the students wowed me once again.

Here's a quick video taken by Mrs. LaBine of a successful run in her Track B 8th grade class:


Here are two student-made videos, from the Track A 8th grade class (we have some talented videographers in our midst!) – first, one by Nate Theule:


And here's another video by Eli Newman:


Here are Nate's photos:

{photos by Nate Theule}


And here are photos of a group of Track A 7th grade students hard at work making the different stations of their Rube Goldberg machine:

{photos by Nikol Rochez}

We love that all the UMS kids were able to make a mess, try things, fail, try again, have fun, and use their creative thinking skills. Thank you, Mrs. LaBine! Parents, if you have an Upper Middle School student, ask them how their classroom’s Rube Goldberg machine turned out.

Our Lower Middle School and Intermediate classes also created Rube Goldberg machines, and we will share whatever we can get from those on the blog soon! Stay tuned...