ALEX Lesson Plan

     

Rube Goldberg Machines & Energy

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Kristina Kilgallen
System: Hale County
School: Hale County Board Of Education
The event this resource created for:ASTA
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 34501

Title:

Rube Goldberg Machines & Energy

Overview/Annotation:

Students will create a Rube Goldberg Machine while working in a small group through this lesson.  They will then explain the energy transformations present in their own machine and in those of their classmates.  This will ensure their understanding of the law of conservation of energy as well as energy transformations.  

This lesson results from a collaboration between the Alabama State Department of Education and ASTA.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
Science
SC2015 (2015)
Grade: 9-12
Physical Science
11 ) Design and conduct investigations to verify the law of conservation of energy, including transformations of potential energy, kinetic energy, thermal energy, and the effect of any work performed on or by the system.

Insight Unpacked Content
Scientific And Engineering Practices:
Planning and Carrying out Investigations
Crosscutting Concepts: Energy and Matter
Disciplinary Core Idea: Energy
Evidence Of Student Attainment:
Students:
  • Design investigations to verify law of conservation of energy.
  • Design investigations to verify the interchange between potential energy, kinetic energy, thermal energy, and work done on or by a system.
  • Conduct investigations to verify the law of conservation of energy.
  • Conduct investigations to verify the interchange between potential, kinetic energy, thermal energy, and work done on or by a system.
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • System
  • Energy
  • Mechanical
  • Temperature
  • Conduction
  • Convection
  • Radiation
  • Friction
  • Force
  • Specific heat capacity
  • Latent heat
  • Heat of vaporization
  • Law of Conservation of energy
  • Transformation
  • Potential energy
  • Kinetic energy
  • Thermal energy
  • Heat
  • Work
  • Phase changes
Knowledge:
Students know:
  • Energy cannot be created or destroyed, but it can be transported from one place to another and transferred between systems.
  • Properties of materials cause different materials to absorb and release energy differently.
  • Conduction, convection, and radiation are methods of energy transfer.
  • Energy can be conserved when there are changes in potential, kinetic, or heat energy.
Skills:
Students are able to:
  • Compare thermal energy, heat, and temperature.
  • Compare scenarios in which work is done and explain the differences in magnitude of work done using the relationship W=FΔd
  • Infer the ability of various materials to absorb or release thermal energy in order to relate mass, specific heat capacity and temperature of materials to the amount of heat transferred (q=mCΔT).
  • Relate phase changes to latent heat that changes the potential energy of particles while the average kinetic energy of particles (temperature) remains the same.
  • Compare conduction, convection, and radiation as methods of energy transfer.
  • Exemplify the relationships between kinetic energy, potential energy, and heat to illustrate that total energy is conserved in mechanical systems such as a pendulum, roller coaster, carts/balls on ramps.
  • Relate types of friction in a system to the transformation of mechanical energy to heat.
  • Explain scenarios in which work is done identifying the force, displacement, and energy transfer. (When work is done on an object, the result is an increase in its energy and is accompanied by a decrease in energy elsewhere.)
Understanding:
Students understand that:
  • Conservation of energy means that the total change of energy in any system is always equal to the total energy transferred into or out of the system.
AMSTI Resources:
ASIM Physics Module:
Bouncy; Ball Energy and Work; Energy and Power

NAEP Framework
NAEP Statement::
P12.13: The potential energy of an object on Earth's surface is increased when the object's position is changed from one closer to Earth's surface to one farther from Earth's surface.

NAEP Statement::
P12.16: Total energy is conserved in a closed system.

NAEP Statement::
P12.9: Energy may be transferred from one object to another during collisions.


Science
SC2015 (2015)
Grade: 9-12
Physical Science
12 ) Design, build, and test the ability of a device (e.g., Rube Goldberg devices, wind turbines, solar cells, solar ovens) to convert one form of energy into another form of energy.*

Insight Unpacked Content
Scientific And Engineering Practices:
Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions
Crosscutting Concepts: Energy and Matter
Disciplinary Core Idea: Energy
Evidence Of Student Attainment:
Students:
  • D design a device to convert one form of energy to another.
  • Build their designed device to convert one form of energy to another.
  • Test their device that converts one form of energy to another.
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • Energy
  • Force
  • Machine
  • Simple machine
  • Complex machine
  • Wedge
  • Screw
  • Inclined plane
  • Pulley
  • Wheel
  • Axle
  • Lever
  • Work
  • Conservation of energy
  • Ideal mechanical advantage
  • Actual mechanical advantage
  • Efficiency
  • Heat
  • Temperature
Knowledge:
Students know:
  • Energy can be converted from one form to another in a designed system.
  • Energy can manifest itself in many ways at the macroscopic level such as motion, sound, light and thermal energy.
  • No system can be 100% efficient.
Skills:
Students are able to:
  • Identify the scientific principles that provide the basis for the energy conversion design.
  • Identify the forms of energy that will be converted from one form to another in the designed system.
  • Identify losses of energy by the design system to the surrounding environment.
  • Describe the scientific rationale for choices made for materials and structure of their device in their design plan.
  • Use results of the tests to improve the device performance by increasing the efficiency of energy conversion.
  • Determine the component simple machines that make up complex machines such as categorizing a wedge and screw as a variation of an inclined plane; a pulley and wheel/ axle as a variation of a lever.
  • Explain the relationship between work input and work output for simple machines using the law of conservation of energy. (W = FΔd)
  • Define and determine ideal and actual mechanical advantage. (IMA = dE/dR AMA = FR/FE)
  • Define and determine efficiency of machines. (Wout/Win x 100%)
  • Explain why no machine can be 100% efficient.
Understanding:
Students understand that:
  • In designing a system for energy storage, for energy distribution, or to perform some practical task, it is important to design for maximum efficiency—thereby ensuring that the largest possible fraction of the energy is used for the desired purpose rather than being transferred out of the system in unwanted ways.
  • Changes of energy and matter in a system can be described in terms of energy and matter flows into, out of, and within that system.
AMSTI Resources:
ASIM Physics Module:
Rube Goldberg Machine

Local/National Standards:

 

Primary Learning Objective(s):

Students will design and create a Rube Goldberg Machine, investigating and explaining how it converts energy from one form to another.

Additional Learning Objective(s):

 
 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

Greater than 120 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

Rube Goldberg Project Design worksheet

How to Build a Homemade Rube Goldberg Machine article

Peer Evaluation Rubric

exit ticket

Materials per group:

  • Masking tape
  • Scissors
  • Old cardboard boxes 
  • Marbles
  • Hot glue gun
  • Hot glue sticks
  • Dominoes

Recommended but not necessary:

  • Tinker Toys
  • Lincoln Logs
  • Slinkys
  • Yo-yos
  • Any other old toys you have available

Note that these are suggested materials--the great thing about making a Rube Goldberg Machine is that you can utilize scrap materials to make it.  Tell your students about the project a few days in advance and encourage students to bring old toys from home for their group to use in their project.  You can also ask the cafeteria at your school if they have cardboard boxes that you can have for students to use for the project.  These can be easily turned into ramps and all kinds of resources for the project.

Technology Resources Needed:

Background/Preparation:

BACKGROUND KNOWLEDGE

Energy is the ability to do work.  There are two main types of energy: potential and kinetic.  Potential energy is energy an object has as a result of its position.  Kinetic energy is energy in motion or movement.

Within these types of energy there are seven forms of energy:

  • Mechanical energy
  • Thermal (Heat) energy
  • Sound energy
  • Light energy
  • Nuclear energy
  • Electrical energy
  • Chemical energy

You should have already taught students this prior to this lesson.  Students who require review and remediation can use Quizlet to do so.

  Procedures/Activities: 

BEFORE (ENGAGE)

Many students are familiar with the idea of a Rube Goldberg Machine and simply don't know it.  To peak students' interests, show them a video of a Rube Goldberg Machine, and then ask them to do a Think-Pair-Share activity, describing what happened in the video as scientifically as possible.  Give students five minutes to complete the activity with their partner and then ask students for their responses as a whole group.

Students should have concluded that they viewed a chain reaction, ultimately completing a simple task.  If they did not come to this conclusion, help explain this to them.  

DURING (EXPLORE & EXPLAIN)

Have students to view the video one more time, this time recalling what they already know about energy transformations to complete a simple task.  Tell them to record Jot Notes during the video, describing as many transformations as possible.  Once you have viewed the video for a second time as a class, again ask students for their answers and record them as a class, being as thorough and specific as possible.

Then have students view videos of Rube Goldberg Machines on the Internet to spark their interest.  Specifically, they should view the following:

Then have students plan their project in their small group.  They may need to view additional videos of Rube Goldberg Machines to get additional ideas.  YouTube is a great resource for this.  Remind students to follow standard lab safety procedures, using good sense while planning and constructing their project.

Have students complete the Rube Goldberg Project Design worksheet so that they can plan out the steps to their machine prior to beginning to build it.  They should also determine at this time what type of energy is used by each part of the machine.  This will help them to identify what energy transformations are present in the machine.

Students can read the article outlining the steps to build a Rube Goldberg Machine if they need additional details and help getting started.

Once students complete their Rube Goldberg Project Worksheet they should begin building their project.

Depending on the length of the class periods in your school, you may allow students one or several days to complete the building of their project.  Once a group has completed their project, however, the members should use the Self-Evaluation Rubric at the bottom of the Rube Goldberg Project Worksheet to ensure that their project has all the required components.

AFTER (ELABORATE & EVALUATE)

Your students should use the Peer Evaluation Rubric to evaluate each others' projects as well.  This will provide them with additional opportunities to practice observing and identifying energy transformations.  

Once you and your students have used the rubrics to evaluate the projects, have each individual student complete an exit ticket to evaluate their knowledge of transformation of energy and the law of conservation of energy.  Score students' exit tickets.  Each question is worth 20% (there are five questions). If they score lower than 80% on the exit ticket you should plan to remediate them.


  Assessment  

Assessment Strategies

Use the Teacher Evaluation Rubric to evaluate each group's Rube Goldberg Machine.  

Once you and your students have used the rubrics to evaluate the projects, have each individual student complete an exit ticket to evaluate their knowledge of transformation of energy and the law of conservation of energy.  Score students' exit tickets.  Each question is worth 20% (there are five questions). If they score lower than 80% on the exit ticket you should plan to remediate them.

Acceleration:

Have students who complete the assignment early read an article about the history of Rube Goldberg Machines and how they illustrate the engineering process.  They can then write a one-paragraph summary of the article, taking care to describe what they have learned from it.

Intervention:

Students who need remediation should view a video from Khan Academy on the conservation of energy to help them have a better understanding of it.

After that, students can use technology to play this Quizlet game and assess their knowledge of the topic.


View the Special Education resources for instructional guidance in providing modifications and adaptations for students with significant cognitive disabilities who qualify for the Alabama Alternate Assessment.