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Science Rocks!

Rube Goldberg™ Invention


your results

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The ZOOMers

Complicated contraptions! Rube Goldberg designed inventions that made simple tasks much more complicated. Now you try to create one that puts toothpaste on a toothbrush in at least twenty steps.

Materials Needed

  • different things from around your house. That's the beauty of it! The ZOOMers used dominoes, string, sand, cups, clamps, balloons, rubber ducky, hammer, and marbles.



  1. Go crazy! Build the most complicated contraption you can come up with, that puts toothpaste on a toothbrush in at least twenty steps.

Did your Rube Goldberg invention take a long time to build? Did you make lots of modifications and changes as you built it? What did you use to build it? Think of another problem you want to solve Rube Goldberg style. Make a design and then try to build it. Then, test out your invention, make some changes so that it works really well, and send your results to ZOOM! Each week we'll publish a whole bunch.

Some of your Results

Josiah, age 11 of Lake Jackson, TX wrote:
I lifted a board which allowed a marble to roll which activated a pendulum. The pendulum knocked a weight off a shelf. The weight pulled a string that lifted a board. The board allowed a spring loaded boxing glove to knock a weight onto a ramp. The weight landed on a scale that pulled a string that poured hamster food into my hamsterís food bowl. I CAN'T BELIEVE IT WORKED

Emily, age 13 of Grand Ledge, MI wrote:
What we did is: 1. we had a robot pull a string through a pulley. the string was attached with to cup full of dog food. 2. the robot hit dominos. wich hit a cup of water, which went down a funnel, through a marble ramp into a bowl. 3. we bbacked up the robot dropping the cup of dog foodinto a bowl a two different part invention

Elisabeth, age 8 of Austin, TX wrote:
I rolled a marble down a book ramp and it hit a domino and the last domino made a pen roll across a piece of wood and the pen hit a plastic cup and the cup hit another domino and the last domino made a car roll into the living room and the car had a glass of milk in it.

Nikki, age 10 of Jackson, MI wrote:
My invention put out a candle at the end by popping a water balloon that was over the candle. It popped when a needle was sent to it by other actions that was about 15 steps long. It was fun.

John, age 10 of Bexley, OH wrote:
I rolled a golf ball down a shoebox lid that knocked over a cereal box which fell onto a ruler propped over an empty toilet paper roll. There was a yogurt cup with vinegar in it that was tipped over into a Dixie cup with a hole in the bottom. The vinegar dripped into a bottle with baking soda in in and set off a chemical reaction!

Jazmine, age 5 of Shavertown, PA wrote:
My vention worked. I fed a fish.

Roxanne, age 14 of NJ wrote:
First I created a base for my Rube goldberg project. I set up a peice of wood with a clear pipe pertruding from a hole a had made in the wood. I placed a marble into the tube and it roled a foot down were it landed into a funnel. The funnel was linked to a cut out water bottle which had a lever inside it. The marble hit the lever and had a toy car fly of the other end. The car zoomed down a track and hit lots of dominos. While the dominos fell it made another car move which had a plastic hand attached to it. (Peice from the game mouse trap) The hand slammed into a text book and squeezed a brand new bottle of toothpaste to a a toothbrush. It was fun, and got me too think of Newton's laws. Have fun with science everyone!

ZOOM Fan, age 10 of Tuscon, AZ wrote:
It took a while but my invention worked! I sent a meal to my sick friend (teddy bear). when I first did it he turned up with a soggy meal.

Teddy, age 9 of Broomfield, CO wrote:
It was great! It was called, "Let There Be Music" and you'll see why. First we knock over a Gamecube game, and making a domino effect (when one domino knocks over another), it hit another Gamecube game. The second game hit a cup, and the cup had a marble in it, and the marble rolled onto Hot Wheels track. Soon, it hit a car. The car went through a loop, and it rolled onto what would have been a jump if the DVD weren't there. The DVD made a huge domino effect with DVDs, a cup, and Gamecube games going up an enormous staircase. The last game had a hand on it, which flipped the start gate thingy, sending a marble down a Marbleworks (a toy that makes marble mazes) structure. It sent a car down more track, and it hit a pencil, knocking it over. The pencil held up a board, so the board fell down and turned on the radio, so we called it "Let There Be Music".

Jake, age 11 of Port Charlotte, FL wrote:
Mine went on for approximately 5 minutes. I used over 100 dominoes, a bunch of pulleys and levers, and I had real fun the gravity and physics of how things moved. Part of it dispensed mint Mentos into diet Coke. At the end, it knocked down a hammer onto a tube of tooth-paste, thus squeezing it onto a tooth brush. By the time that happened, I had to brush my teeth and go to bed. Thanks for the idea. It was fun.

Becca, age 10 of Vista, CA wrote:
I used Jenga blocks instead of dominoes. I made a lever using a ruler and jenga blocks. I made different shapes, and it turned out really well! I'm going to try something a little bit more complex next time.

Candy, age 7 of Chicago, IL wrote:
I tried to put ice cream on a cone. wow it was fun and it took a real real long time to get it to work but I ended up getting ice cream.

Madison, age 9 of Alabama wrote:
the hole thing went great it looked so cool when I tried it man I wish you all could of ben there!!!

Kayla, age 13 of Cincinnati, OH wrote:
i did a working thermonter

Desiree, age 11 of Fort Smith, AZ wrote:
Well I tried doing the Rube Goldberg Invention. I aiways invent things and I mean my mom doesn`t even care what I do, but this time she totallt freakedout. I normaly do that kind of stuff in the livingroom but, this time it was even to big a job for my livingroom so I had to do it in my room. It turned out acttualy realy good.

Spencer, age 7 of Tylorsville, UT wrote:
i used a circle shaped board, spoons, 3 1ft. spools & a handle...

Aslan and Izze of Charlotte, NC wrote:
I made an invention that made up a bed when you pull a string. I used string, a pulley and a hook.

Angela, age 14 of Green Bay, WI wrote:
My invention was awesome! I made an invention so that I wouldn't have to get up to get food, I made a really long attached string to my cupboard to get food and bring it back. I love it

Amy, age 10 of Atlanta, GA wrote:
My experiment results were pleasing. I got my water cup to get to me in 17 steps!(Although I could have gotten up from the couch and gotten it!) I got inspired fronm your game so to you, zoom I had my water finnaly get to me by skateboard. Thanks Zoom, and Good luck with your contraption!

Brigitte, age 11 of Victoria, BC wrote:
I wanted to play a prank on my brother so when he opend my door a shoe would fly at his head. but dont worry not to hard. I used a long string a shoe a plce that is hight near a door the door handle and a hoke on the wall. I tied the string to the door nob and then put it throw the hoke. and then the string was attached to the shoe wich was on the hight spot. so when he opend it the shoe went flying! it really worked

Ari, age 8 of Silver Spring, MD wrote:
My idea was to turn on a small reading lamp. My machine worked like this: I rolled a stone down a book and hit the dominos. The last domino hit a bouncy ball that rolled down a cardboard ramp and into the empty domino case. The weight tipped the domino case over, letting the ball out and the ball pressed the switch. I was very pleased to see how it worked.

Mel'Anie, age 10 of Morelan, HI wrote:
I used a srting a domeno and a magnet, when I tried the trick the first time it did not work, the second time I dropped the domeno into the cup the cup fell and I pulled the srtingthe magnet hooked on to the domeno and it blew up hopefully next time I try it will work.

Micka, age 12 of Eastover, SC wrote:
I Loved Doing the Experament I turned off the lights from the coach

Kim, age 15 of St. Louis, MO wrote:
My machine worked very, very well. A pulley (a. k. a. a spool of ribbon on a pencil taped horizontally between two Lincoln Logs) dropped a playing-card box full of pennies on to a lever made of a shoe box lid. The lever lifted up my inclined plane (a book), which caused a tennis ball to roll down and hit a cup of marbles, which fell off a different shoe box and landed on the end of a tube of toothpaste. The force pushed toothpaste out on to a toothbrush. Good luck making yours!

Marisa of Vail, AZ wrote:
It was amazing! I had to get toothpaste onto a toothbrush in more than 6 steps, I got it in 7! I never knew that something could be so amazing!

Trey, age 15 of Virginia Beach, VA wrote:
It was great I made a rube goldberg machine that turns on my tv by a marble hitting the remote control.

Mariah, age 9 of Philadelphia, PA wrote:
Well it was a school project. I had to get a pencil to land in a pencil case 20 ft away! It worked! Iwas so happy!

Emma, age 6 of Brockville, ON wrote:
it worked. the gumball went in the pan.

not yet implemented