Rube Goldberg and the Meaning of Machines

Simple and compound machines are designed to make work easier. When we encounter a machine that does not fit this understanding, the so-called machine seems absurd. Through the cartoons of Rube Goldberg, students are engaged in critical thinking about the way his inventions make simple tasks even harder to complete. As the final lesson in the simple machines unit, the study of Rube Goldberg machines can help students evaluate the importance and usefulness of the many machines in the world around them.