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Science Rocks!

Rube Goldberg™ Invention II


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 pours milk into a glass.


Materials Needed

  • Different things from around your house. That's the beauty of it! The ZOOMers used vinegar, baking soda, various fishing weights, springs, rubber toy wheels, a drinking glass, 1/2 gallon milk carton, 2 large tables on wheels, a straight-backed wooden chair, and a whole bunch of other stuff.



  1. Go crazy! Build the most complicated contraption you can come up with that pours milk into a glass.

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 -- it doesn't have to be as complicated as one that pours a glass of milk. Try setting up a row of dominos. When they fall, they could knock over a ball balanced at the top of a folder. Or, a ball could roll down a folder and knock over a balanced soda bottle. 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 right here.

Some of your Results

Mason, age 5 of Sherwood, OR wrote:
We set up some dominoes that hit one book. The book then pushed another book that shut a dresser. Shutting the dresser released a string that was attached to a block. When the block moved, a ball went down my marble racer.

Aniesha, age 6 of San Diego, CA wrote:
It worked but it took along time to operate, about 1 business week thats a long time was able to operate on a t. v too turn it on and my cable box also allowing it turn up a serten volume, so loud that it rocked the baby swing. JUST LIKE I WANTED IT TOO!!!

Peter, age 11 of Orchard Park, NY wrote:
It was simple, but hard. I turned on a lego train, which hit a car. The car rolled down the track, and onto a chair. The car then hit a golf ball, and the ball rolled off the chair onto a lever, and sent the bunch of legos I set up flying!

Alexander, age 8 of Lutcher, LA wrote:
I rolled a ball down a ramp then it bounced off a bucket knocked over my toy lap top pulling a shoe lace pulling a pencil knocking over a sign so I can read it.

John, age 6 of Bexley, OH wrote:
I turn on a train, witch rolls onto a catapult, witch turns on another train, that pulls the string that's tied to a hammer that pushes the button that launches the catapult that sends the train flying that knocks over some dominoes, then the last domino turns on a train that's tied to a string that's tied to a bird cage. When the train moves down the line, the cage door is pulled open, witch knocks over a gallon of milk, witch pours into a glass!

Layla, age 15 of Okemos, MI wrote:
Well the finished product turned on a light used about 18 steps.

Rosh, age 9 of Irving, TX wrote:
My machine worked so far. I have a string tied to a train thats tied to a ramp with a ball in it and when the train is turned on, the ball rolls down through a toiletpaper tube and the ball goes down another ramp then the ball hit's some dominoes. The last dominoe is made out of legos and it's big so it hits another ramp with a train on it so the dominoe hits the ramp and the train rolls down the tracks and turns on another electric train with a string tied to it and the string is attached to a bird cage door and the train goes down the tracks pulling the cage door open.

Baxter, age 8 of Rockmart, GA wrote:
Using toys, cups, and a shoebox: I built 1 by pushing a truck into a book; the book hit another truck, pushing a cup full of blocks over; the blocks landed in the other cup.

Crystal, age 13 of ON wrote:
Our class had tomake a rube goldberg and when we did we had to draw a diagram it had to be at least 10 steps. I did one where you could get a drink from the refridgerator it was complicated! But it worked!

Jake, age 6 of Frenchtown, NJ wrote:
When I did it, I tried to put my book in the drawer. A string was tied to the knob of the drawer and the book had the string through it. When I opened it up, the book slid into the drawer!! It was so cool!

Matthew, age 9 of Willow Springs, NC wrote:
First I pushed over a domioe which caused a chain reaction knocking over more dominoes. The last dominoe fell off of a table pulling a string that started a toy train. The train went down a track and at the end knocked over books. The last book landed on a whoopy cushion letting out enough air out that it knocked over more dominoes. The last dominoe knocked off 4 dominoes attatched to a string. The string pulled up a gallon that was some what filled with milk. The milk poured into a funnel that then went down a tube. All ending up in a glass of milk. Boy was it good!!!

Coral, age 14 of Greenwood, IN wrote:
My eighth grade science class had to come up with a rube goldberg machine. I partenered up with my friend, and we had to make a bottle of water sprinkle on a plant. We had to have at least 10 steps, and one month to finish it. I'm still working on it, but here are some of the steps: You push a button, which turns on the car and moves it forward, hitting the dominoes, which do a cool trick. Then, they hit a marble, which zigzags down a slide and falls into a mousetrap. It sets off and pulls a string. The string is pulled off and the cap of a bottle full of marbles spills out into a cup, so when it gets full, it pulls down a tire, which release a spring and bounces a row of marbles down a tube and into bucket. The weight makes the bottle on the ramp heavy, and it tips over and waters the plant. The best part was doing it with my friends and having a good time doing it. I hope you have just as much fun!!!

Sari, age 10 of Edmonton, AB wrote:
I made a small one just for fun, to knock over a can of marbles. You need two jump-ropes or string, masking tape, something heavy, CD's or books, a can or tin and some marbles. Tie two jump ropes together or get one piece of string then tie it to something, (I used a lamp). Tape your heavy "weight" to the ropes. Then on the ground below and behind a bit stack some books or CD's up and put the can or tin with marbles in it on it. Then take another book and tilt it beside it. So then hold up the string and let it drop so the "weight" hits the can and knocks it over. Its pretty hard to possision it, I had to move it a few times. So it has a like four steps.

Megan, age 6 of Conroe, TX wrote:
We used a 1 1/2 " tall toy truck to push over 10-15 dominos set up in a row. The last domino pushes another truck into another line of dominos.

Julia, age 12 of Chicago, IL wrote:
Our 6th grade S. S. teacher had us design our own Rube Goldberg Inventions; It was fun seeing how creative everyone is.

Brendan, age 8 of Leverett, MA wrote:
361 inches of string, 12 pullies, and 6 metal fasteners were the main parts in my invention. It used 1,397 steps, but it still worked!!! It turned on the light switch.

Lucy, age 11 of Monterey, TN wrote:
Thanks so much! It's gave me and A in science.

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