Year 8 – DT – DT

Year 8 – Design and Technology -Week One

Rube Goldberg Machine Project

Learning Objective:  ​Complete a product analysis using descriptive wording and full sentences.

Design brief/context:​ A Rube Goldberg Machine is a contraption, invention, device or apparatus that is deliberately over-engineered to perform a simple task in a complicated way, generally including a chain reaction. Your challenge over the next 4 weeks is to transform a range of household recyclable materials into a contraption that allows a ball (marble, tennis ball, orange, etc) to move from one end to the other and eventually hit a target/fall into a goal. Your finished Rube Goldberg Machine should include at least 3 stages/steps.

Task 1 – Research You should spend around 15 minutes on this task.

Your first task is to research into Rube Goldberg. Things to consider;

Who was he?

What was his job?

What work is he famous for?

What can you find out about Rube Goldberg machines?

What makes a Rube Goldberg machine unique?

How to complete this task
  • It is completely up to you how you present your page, but if you’re not sure – use the blank template that follows as a starting point 
  • REMEMBER – Any information you find over the internet needs to be written in your own words. Do not copy and paste!

Task 2 – Analysis You should spend around 25 minutes on this task. ​

Your second task is to analyse a video of a Rube Goldberg style machine. Things to consider;
  • Find a video that inspires you
  • Before writing your analysis to remind yourself about what ACCESS FM stands for.
  • You can use the writing frame below as a template.

​- Remember to write in full sentences!

Click on the links below for a few examples – feel free to find your own one though!

Task 3 – Specification You should spend around 15 minutes on this task. 

Your third task is to write a specification for your own Rube Goldberg style machine. Things to consider;
  • A design specification is a document that provides information about what the final product should be. It’s your opportunity as the designer to explain exactly what you want to do and why. ​
    • E.g. My Rube Goldberg Machine will be environmentally friendly because I will use recyclable materials.

Useful web links:

Specification questions

Environment: How will you make sure that your machine is as environmentally friendly as possible?

Size: What length/height are you hoping to achieve with your machine? (Might be worth having a quick walk around the house to see where would be best to do this – e.g. it should be somewhere that doesn’t block a doorway/path).

Safety: How will you make sure your machine is as safe as possible to use?

Function: How will you know you’ve been successful at the end? What does your final machine need to do? How many ‘stages’ does it need to have?

Materials – What kind of materials are you hoping to use? (Be specific about what materials and how they’ll be used – e.g. cardboard tube as a tunnel).

This four week project will continue next week. Remember if you’re struggling with something you can email your DT teacher. ​

Good Luck!