Sunday, February 2, 2020

Energy Transformations with a Rube Goldberg Machine Challenge

Are you looking for a perfect way to engage students when teaching energy transformations?  This Rube Goldberg Machine Challenge is such a fun way for students to work collaboratively, engage creatively, and show exactly what they have learned.

Students really love this 5-day challenge.  You can feel the classroom buzzing with energy.  The kiddos are so excited to have the freedom to brainstorm their own machine.

They are tasked with making a Rube Goldberg machine that executes a simple thing in a complicated way.  For example, mixing a cup of Kool-Aid, popping a balloon, or turning the page of a book.  The machine must have at least four energy transformations.  But, the machine can be made out of whatever school-appropriate materials the group can come up with!  The teacher does provide a few basic school supply type of materials, but honestly, the kids will hardly use these basic materials.

You will be super surprised when you see which students are jumping at the chance to participate in this project.  I have witnessed one of the least motivated students in class suddenly think of something unique he had at home to bring in and contribute to the group project.

Here's what happens next:  the once unmotivated student now has ownership in the project and cares about the outcome of the machine.  It's magic!

The project wraps up with a multi-media group presentation.  This showcases the group's sketches of the machine, photos of the machine, and also a video of the machine in action.  Each person within the group is assigned a job to help make this presentation come together.

I love to have the kids vote on their favorite Rube Goldberg machine at the end of this project!  Students always seem to enjoy a friendly competition with some type of teacher-friendly incentive as a reward.  It could be a Starburst to a homework pass - whatever works for you and your school.

If you would love to do this project and want to save some time, check out the Rube Goldberg Machine 5-Day Challenge project in my TpT Store!

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