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Extension > Youth Development > Minnesota 4-H > Events > Engineering Design Challenge > Ideas & resources

Ideas and resources

Resources for coaches and mentors

What does it take to be a Rube Goldberg coach? Rube Goldberg coach volunteer position description (PDF)

Rube Goldberg Curriculum

Members of the Minnesota 4-H State STEM team developed a Rube Goldberg curriculum to support coaches with practical strategies to teach the engineering design process, the eight engineering practices, and 21st Century skills through an experiential process.

To download a copy of the curriculum, please fill out a short survey,

Take the survey

Additional resources

Eight practices of Science and Engineering from the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

Two important online webinars for coaches and PCs

June 13

Recording of webinar that took place on June 13
(This may take as much as 2-3 minutes to load.)

June 28

Recording of the webinar that took place on June 28
(This may take as much as 2-3 minutes to load.)

At the fair

A tip sheet for bringing your machine to the county or state fair—expect the unexpected.

Rube Goldberg Judging

Judge interview: Project engineer and RGM judge Teresa Burgess explains what she looks for when interviewing a RGM team.

Engineering Design Challenge Rube Goldberg judging guidelines (PDF) (You can also find these guidelines in the Rube Goldberg handbook.)

This RG judges orientation video explains what the judges will be looking for and how the team will be judged.

Resources for teams


A Minnesota 4-H RG team in action

The Meeker County Koronis Eager Beavers demonstrate their contraption that puts toothpaste on a toothbrush, and talk about what they learned while building it.

Rube Goldberg, the father of inventions

CBS Sunday Morning video about a RGM competition in Ohio for university students.

Rube Goldberg online camp

In 2015 some of the participants in the Engineering Design Challenge took part in an online Rube Goldberg camp. In this series of short videos, Dr. Duct Tape helps campers understand a number of concepts that they can use in designing and creating a contraption, à la Rube Goldberg himself.

Elements and ideas you can incorporate into your own machine

Fluid Power

Fluid power is the use of fluids under pressure to generate, control and transmit power. Hydraulic power uses liquid, and pneumatic power uses gas.

Fluid Power, A Force for Change

This 30-minute program explores our everyday use of fluid power, and looks at new and future applications. (Twin Cities Public Television and the National Fluid Power Association)

Examples of individual fluid power elements

  • RARM (Arm moving in 3 dimensions)

Rube Goldberg machines that use fluid power

Keeping a journal

Keeping a journal or record of design ideas, work accomplished, work left to do, problems encountered and solutions tried, materials needed, and any number of other aspects of the experience of designing and building a RG contraption is strongly recommended. (It is required for teams wishing to enter their machine for judging at county or state fairs.) Here are some example journal excerpts from teams that competed in the 2015 Engineering Design RG Challenge.

(Some parts of these examples became difficult to read/see when we photocopied them.)

Questions to help guide journaling

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