Block 3: This Week At STEAM – Week 7 Rube Goldberg

This week was Rube Goldberg/Engineering week.  This was a culmination of everything the students have learned about the 4 C’s and the Design Process.  The students first had to complete their Design Challenge.  They were given 20 index cards of five different colours.  They had to construct a tower as tall as possible, with as many floors as possible.  They received points for how tall it was, how many floors, for any unaltered cards, and if no same colour cards were touching.  They also received points on how well they collaborated in their groups.  They were given 5 minutes to plan- Identify 3 constraints that could arise and Imagine 3 solutions to those challenges.  They then had 10 minutes to build.  After the challenge and scoring, we discussed each group’s strategy.

We then read a book called Rosie Revere, Engineer.  The book focused on the grit and resilience of STEAM, where you only truly fail if you quit.  Shifting gears, we discussed what types of materials an engineer would need and introduced Simple Machines.  We looked at levers, inclined planes, screws, pulleys, wedges, and wheel and axels.  After, we watched three videos.  The first was a music video by OK GO (, followed by Rube Slowberg (, and Audri’s Monster Trap (  These videos introduced the students to different kinds of Rube Goldberg Machines.

The task for the day had the students designing their own Rube Goldberg machine.  A Rube Goldberg Machine is a complex machine that solves a simple task.  In their groups, the students were instructed to first brainstorm a simple task.  Next, they had to layer in three Simple Machines and three chain reactions.  The majority of the day was spent refining their machines.  Not all of the machines were successful, but….no one gave up!

At the end of the day the students continued writing a persuasive letter.  This letter pertains to next week – personalized learning week where the students chose an activity that sparked their imagination, and they will explore it further.  They had to detail out what they wanted to do and why they chose the activity.  They also have to go through the Design Process before they are able start their project.

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