As part of their study on potential energy, freshmen physics students created Rube Goldberg machines — machines intentionally designed to perform a simple task in an indirect and overcomplicated fashion. These machines often consist of a series of simple devices linked together to produce a domino effect.
Working in groups, students built elaborate machines for tasks like making lemonade, blowing a bubble, turning on a light, and typing a letter — calculating the gravitational potential energy of an object by using the equation mass x acceleration of gravity x height.
They presented their final projects to the class and also created an energy report and a video demonstrating their device.
Check out the clip below to see how students created a Rube Goldberg machine to turn on the lights.