Rube Goldberg was an engineer by education, but he began his career as a journalist. He implemented his engineering knowledge when he began a cartoon series where several small machines affected each other to complete a simple task. For example, he had several steps in a cartoon where the final step would turn on a light, let out the cat, or put milk in a bowl. Rube Goldberg was known for his complicated contraptions, of which many were included in movies. The well-known Mousetrap game was based on Rube Goldberg’s concept.
Students in the engineering class first researched Rube Goldberg and his life. They then researched several of his cartoon descriptions. As a small group, they listed separate outcomes for their own Rube Goldberg, drew a sketch of their contraption, then built their own machine with household items. Once finalized, groups engineered contraptions that watered a plant, popped a balloon, fed fish, and made a “hole in one” with a golf ball.