A Rube, what?! A STEAM-azing challenge for students!

A Rube, what?! A STEAM-azing challenge for students!

Rube Goldberg machines blend creativity and science in the most playful way–and turn learning into an adventure full of anticipation! A Rube Goldberg machine is a complex contraption designed to perform a simple task.

Picture a cascade of rolling balls, swinging arms, and tumbling dominos—all working together in an elaborate dance of cause and effect. Created by the inventive mind of Reuben Lucius Goldberg, a prominent American cartoonist and engineer in the early 20th century, the Rube Goldberg machine made its first appearance in 1929 through a cartoon titled The Trick That Cannot Be Explained.

Known for its complexity, this machine featured a chain reaction of intricate devices achieving a simple task. Beyond its humorous origins, the Rube Goldberg machine has evolved into an educational tool that brings together art and engineering.

Ready to join our 2024 Contest? 

Through our 2024 Contest, A Rube What?!, we will transform the magic of Rube Goldberg machines into a captivating STEAM lesson for ESL learners. This hands-on journey will not only spark curiosity but also weave language skills into science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics. So, let’s explore how Rube Goldberg machines become a gateway for ESL students to engage, learn, and create in the vibrant world of STEAM education. Every sequence created by your students can enter our contest!

Follow the links to learn more about our STEAM-based lesson plan. You can make any adjustments to better match it with your class’ level and age.

Downloadable Material:

 Lesson Plan and Student's Worksheet

Terms and Conditions

 Submission Form

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can join?

Every student up to 17 years old in teams of up to 5 people or individually.

How can I send my students’ submissions?

Send three high-resolution photos and a video (the video should show the machine performing the task in portrait orientation) along with a separate submission form for each entry via email to epcompetitions@expresspublishing.co.uk by May 17, 2024.

When will the winners be announced?

The three winning submissions will be announced on June 5, 2024.

What is the prize?

An Amazon gift card will be given to the top three submissions (€100 for the first prize and €50 for the second & third prize). In case a team wins a prize, all team members are rewarded. Additionally, winners will receive a certificate of achievement and their project will be displayed on our social media accounts. Each participant will receive a certificate of participation.

Based on what criteria will you rank submissions?

We will rank all submissions based on the following criteria:

  • Creativity and originality of the design
  • Execution and functionality of the machine
  • Clarity of the cause-and-effect chain
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