Rube Goldberg, Inc. develops curricula designed to bring laughter and invention together in STEM- and STEAM-friendly activities. A Rube Goldberg Machine (RGM) is a crazy contraption that accomplishes a simple task in the most complicated—and funniest—way possible. Based on the “Invention” cartoons of the Pulitzer Prize–winning American cartoonist Rube Goldberg, actual machines are at the heart of the Rube Goldberg Machine Contest, an event engaging students of all ages in competing with the machines they have imagined, designed, and created in a fun and competitive forum. The competitions encourage teamwork and innovative problem solving. There are two types of contests: LIVE (require a host site)—teams build an RGM, transport it to the host site for which they have registered, and compete with other teams; the first-place winner of each host site is eligible to compete in Live Finals. And ONLINE—teams build an RGM, video it, upload it to a team page, and compete with other teams for first place. The most recent task was to put money in a piggy bank. Tasks for future contests will be announced on the website.
Plus: Teachers can download STEAM-focused lessons (PDFs) and accompanying resources to help get started teaching about Rube Goldberg Machines in their classroom or afterschool program. The free lessons support the Next Generation Science Standards.
In smaller rural schools, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education can face troublesome barriers. In our K–12 district of 730 students, we have many of the common obstacles, including limited funds, no extra faculty, and an already overloaded class schedule. These three join arms to block us from using any of the really cool programs we’d like to. Other institutions sing praises of cutting-edge programs and share their successes. Meanwhile, rural schools are trying to figure out how to educate equally deserving kids in STEM.
Each month we publish blogs and several newsletters full of digital learning, funding, professional growth, social media, and STEM resources. Below are items from our blogs and newsletters that educators turned to the most in May.