Ballston Spa Middle School Students Rube Goldberg Machines

7th-Graders Create Rube Goldberg Mini-Golf Courses

BALLSTON SPA — Seventh-grade students in Jesse Santonastaso, Jody Prescott and Peggy Muller‘s science classes finished the culminating project for their simple machine unit by building Rube Goldberg miniature golf courses.

A Rube Goldberg design is defined as “doing something simple in a very complicated way that is not necessary,” according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary.

Classes developed golf courses using six simple machines. Each group was assigned one hole in the golf course. Student projects included a starting hole and finishing green.

In between the start and finish, students constructed Rube Goldberg style machines with up to 20 steps. Projects included wedges, screws, incline planes, pulley, lever, wheel and axle.

The projects were constructed using recycled materials primarily cardboard and old toys and marked the culmination of a three-week unit for students.

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