Today at school, my class and Ms. Boyer’s class switched rooms for a quick lesson. Ms. Boyer taught science and Ms. Robert taught math.
For the lesson, we did some experimenting with colored sugar and three liquids. We conducted three experiments. For each one, we combined colored sugar with either vinegar, oil, or water. Before the experiments, we made a hypothesis for each one. A hypothesis is the “science version” of an educated guess, kind of like an estimation. My group got to do only two experiments because we ran out of time. We chose to combine colored sugar with vinegar first and then oil. In both the experiments, my group’s hypothesis was confirmed!
For our first experiment, our hypothesis was, “If you combine one teaspoon of colored sugar and twenty-five milliliters of vinegar, then the vinegar will dissolve the sugar and it’ll turn green because of the vinegar’s acidity.” When we conducted the experiment, that’s what happened. The vinegar dissolved the sugar and turned green, which shows that our hypothesis was right. One thing my group noticed, though, was that it took a lot of mixing for the sugar to dissolve completely.
In our second experiment, our hypothesis was, “If we combine one teaspoon of colored sugar and twenty-five milliliters of oil, then the oil will reject the sugar because sugar and water mix and oil rejects water.” And again, when we conducted the experiment, that’s what happened. The oil rejected the sugar and the oil also turned green when the sugar was combined. One thing that my group noticed was that the sugar sank to the bottom because it was denser than the oil.
I thought that conducting these experiments was very fun because whenever my group made a hypothesis, I really wanted to see how the experiment would turn out and whether we would be right. I hope we have another lesson of MESSY SCIENCE!
This is my last Rube Goldberg post. Overall, I really enjoyed this project! The two things that I liked the most were testing out our machine and making the final video. I thought that testing out our machine was really fun because it was cool to watch it at work and to try to figure out what changes to make to failed attempts which would then lead to a successful one. Making the video was also fun because we got to experiment with a bunch of different features. Nick and I chose a very cool piece of music that we wanted and used the fading in and out feature which Mr. Casal taught us how to use in WeVideo last year.
I learned a lot from this project. One thing I learned were the different ways different objects react to something hitting them. Sometimes objects reacted in a way that I didn’t expect. For example, at first I didn’t expect a domino to knock down a cassette, but I realized that it was because the domino hit it at the top. If that domino hit the cassette at the bottom, it wouldn’t have knocked it down. Another thing I learned is that making small changes to the machine can make a huge difference. Maybe the most important thing I learned is that you have to be very patient to make a Rube Goldberg because it can take you A LOT of attempts to make it be successful. And trust me, sometimes you’ll get REALLY FRUSTRATED. Especially when you’re building a row of dominoes and then, all of a sudden, one of them falls, which causes ALL the rest to fall too. I suggest you test out the machine by parts. That’s what Nick and I did and it helped us out a lot. I think it was the reason the machine was successful on the second try. If you test out every part and change it until it’s perfect, then when you test your entire machine it’ll probably work in one of the first few attempts.
Here is an “Instagram Post” that I made in Adobe Spark about my Rube Goldberg video on Mrs. Robert’s YouTube channel…
On Sunday, Nick and I finished building and recording our entire machine. It has 17 steps. We got a successful run on our SECOND try! It was awesome. When we just started working that day we replaced some steps. For example, we replaced the marble and cardboard tubes with a labyrinth and wooden maze that the marble goes through because we realized that taping the cardboard tubes to the wall wouldn’t work because the tape wouldn’t be strong enough to keep the tubes on the wall. We also took out the soda can and the two cars and swinging bar step. We replaced that because we realized that the swinging bar that gets pushed by the first car wasn’t strong enough to give the second car a good push. Also, we decided to replace the car hitting the books because every time it did, the book would fall backwards because the car was hitting it on the bottom. A final step we replaced was the books at the end that push the soccer ball into the goal. We replaced that because we wanted to get to put in a cool domino part with one domino going on a loop-the-loop and other dominoes on this little thing that has like a wave shape. We really like the dominoes falling.
We also made an important change to the phone step. When the phone received the call from the computer, the word “Mami” appeared on the screen (which is mom in Spanish), so we thought it would be funny to change the name of the caller to “Rube Goldberg”. My dad was there filming and had the idea of putting voiceover when the computer calls so that the people watching our video will hear what’s on the phone’s screen.
When we finished building our machine, my heart was racing. I was so excited and at the same time nervous. Would we get it to work? How many tries would it take? It didn’t work on the first try, but it got pretty far. Nick and I were SUPER frustrated because it was two steps away from working all the way! The step that failed were the mini dominoes hitting the bigger ones. The mini dominoes weren’t strong enough to knock down the bigger dominoes so we figured we had to replace them with the bigger ones. We made that change and… IT WORKED. We couldn’t believe it worked on the SECOND attempt. Nick and I were celebrating like crazy!
This is my 5th Rube Goldberg post. Nick and I have started building our machine this week. We tested some parts and found that it’s very challenging to get things to work. We have been working very hard and have had a lot of failures. Sometimes when we were setting up the dominoes, one domino would accidentally fall and knock down ALL the rest which was REALLY frustrating! Other times, the dominoes would be too close to each other, so when we started the machine they wouldn’t fall the way we want them to and that attempt would fail. We realized the dominoes have to be placed about 3/4 of an inch apart from each other to fall the right way. We also think we might need to replace the cardboard tubes that go taped to the wall with something more stable, or replace that step for something else.
Next time we meet, on Saturday, we will continue working on the step with the computer calling the phone and try to finish the design and start filming the entire machine at work. Last time we tried the phone step, the ramp was either too steep or not steep enough. The phone either would get stuck and not move down when called or slide down right away when we put it on the ramp. I hope we get a successful run this weekend. We really want to finish it!
Here are a few videos…
Yesterday in class, we had a sketch museum. We rotated around the classroom looking at other groups’ sketches and writing on post-its what we think they can work on and what we really liked about them. I really enjoyed seeing other people’s work. A lot of people had at least one simple machine in their sketch. Most people used an inclined plane. Inclined planes are probably the easiest simple machine to use in a Rube Goldberg, so that’s probably why a lot of groups are using it. I also saw that most of the groups used dominoes. Maybe it’s because dominoes falling is a pretty cool effect. They fall fast and make a kind of original sound.
I saw one sketch that had a step similar to one of ours, which is probably our most complicated step. That step is to make a computer call a phone by making something hit the enter button on the computer. The phone’s vibration makes it slide down a mini ramp and knock down dominoes which then set off something else. The other group’s Rube Goldberg starts out by them calling a phone which vibrates down a ramp and sets off something else. I thought the sketch museum was great and I really want to see how everyone’s machines turn out.
At this point, Nick and I are done with our sketch. When we got together outside of school, we exchanged ideas on what we thought could be fun steps to add, and then we chose the best ones to add to the final sketch. One of the hardest ones is getting the computer to call Nick’s phone to make it vibrate. Nick actually tried a cool new way to do it and it worked, so we’re probably going to do that! I guess that when we start building the machine, it’s likely that we’re going to make more changes like that. I think that maybe new ideas will come to us or that we’ll have to make changes because some of the steps that we put in the sketch may not work.
Here is my sketch…
Nick has been a really good partner. He is excited about the project, like me, and contributes good ideas. We tend to agree on most things and if we don’t, it’s something minor. I really feel good about working with a partner because if one of us is having trouble figuring something out, the other can help. Working with a partner can be hard if you are constantly disagreeing, or if one ends up having to do most of the work and gets frustrated, but that’s not the case here.
This is my second Rube Goldberg post. We’ve made a lot more progress with Nick! We’re almost done with our sketches. The first days of brainstorming our plan were the most challenging. It’s hard figuring out what materials to use and if they’ll give us the result we want them to do. We’ve thought of using pulleys which we think would add complexity, but decided not to because we don’t know how to build them. Instead of a pulley, we are thinking of putting a swinging bar that’s on a track which pushes a toy car. Luckily, the links included in Google Drive for this project were very helpful and found some inspiration. Also, we’ve done some more research individually and got together outside of school to work on this project and find some more ideas for our machine.
For this Rube Goldberg project, I am working with Nick, and we are going to make our machine push a soccer ball into a net under five minutes. We’ve been planning on how we are going to make it, and luckily we’ve made some progress! At first Nick and I decided we were going to make our machine turn off the lights, but then we changed our minds because we both like soccer and we thought the soccer ball idea would be more fun. We’ve been brainstorming on the steps together at school and working on our sketches separately. Right now we have eight steps figured out, but we would like to make it more complicated so that it’s more interesting to watch. What we know for sure is that we want to use several balls that get progressively bigger ending with a soccer ball. We also want to use dominoes because we like the way they fall and the cool sound they make. I hope our machine will be successful!