Grade 8 Physical Science Unit – Culminating Project Team members ________________________
Date ______________ Period _______ ______________________________________
Rube Goldberg was a famous cartoonist who used simple machines
to display his art work. He used humor while showing how simple
machines can be used to complete basic everyday tasks. If you have
ever played the game ‘mousetrap’, you have seen his work in action.
Challenge: In order to show your mastery of the core concepts from the physical science unit,
you and your teammates are to design and construct a “Rube Goldberg” style apparatus (connected simple
machines with multiple steps) to complete a simple task (example: close a book, put coins into a bank,
swat a fly, etc). You will also create a poster drawing of the apparatus to be shared with the class, which
shows how your apparatus works and identifies specific aspects of the laws of motion.
Project Requirements and Limitations
Each design must use a minimum of three of the six different types of simple machines (lever,
wedge, inclined plane, screw, wheel and axle, or pulley) with a minimum of six steps needed to
complete the task.
Your apparatus must demonstrate at least one (1) example of each of Newton’s three laws of
motion (Inertia, F=ma, and action/reaction). There will be a section of your apparatus that will
require you to calculate acceleration of a marble on a track. You will use this data to calculate force
using the second law formula. A worksheet will be provided.
Your apparatus may not have any human energy input except at the beginning, the release point.
Each team member must participate in the project tasks (design and construction of the apparatus
and poster) and be prepared to explain how the apparatus works and how it relates to our study of
motion and machines.
Each team will create a poster to display how their Rube Goldberg design works. In the poster, the
following must be identified:
_____ A change in speed _____ Newton’s 1st Law -Two places in which
_____ A change in velocity inertia is overcome
_____ A pulling force _____ Newton’s 2nd law - A section showing
_____ An unbalanced force acceleration - change in velocity due to
_____ Combined forces in opposite a change in force
_____ Identify where friction occurs _____ Newton’s 3rd Law - An example of
_____ Identify where gravity impacts the action-reaction
_____ A point showing potential energy
_____ A point showing kinetic energy
Materials: Students will be supplied with some materials but should bring the majority of
supplies from home.
Examples of materials to bring from home:
balls, marbles, dominoes, string, toy cars, magnets, cardboard tubes, clothespins,
CD’s and/or cases, rubber bands, springs, pulleys, etc.
chairs, desk and masking tape
Assessment: The evaluation will be based on a scoring rubric measuring the following:
(1) How well team members understand/explain the project purpose and task.
(2) How well team members explain the functioning of their apparatus, relative to
(3) The success/reliability of the apparatus in meeting project requirements.
(4) How well the poster illustrates the team’s apparatus and identifies the
required components relating to physical science concepts.
This project calls for a high thinking demand and active use of knowledge:
You are expected to raise questions, use problem-solving skills, and reasoning to figure
out problems you may run into as you design, construct and test your apparatus.
Cooperation, teamwork, creativity, and originality will help your team be successful, in
addition to the applying the knowledge and skills you learned in the physical science unit.
GOOD LUCK to EVERYONE and HAVE FUN!