Rube Goldberg and the Rochester Makerspace

Every so often we manage to squeeze in projects outside of our usual medium. A favorite place of ours these days is the Rochester Makerspace. There are tools in there that we don’t otherwise have access to, like lathes and routers. More importantly, the Makerspace is really about the members and the diversity of skills, interests, and ideas that are found in a single place. So what better place is there to work on something that can be as random as a Rube Goldberg machine.

I’ve taught a class the last few years in our local school district’s Festival of Ideas, where kids get to experiment with parts and create their own crazy gizmos out of simple machines and scrap materials we have on hand. I’ve wanted to do something much larger for some time. The Makerspace provided the opportunity to take that on.

Over a six Saturdays, we had kid inventors working as a team, learning about some of the tools we had, combining simple machines, and eventually producing a Rube Goldberg machine to make smoothies. I have to admit, I was a little concerned that they were taking on too large a task when they announced that’s what they were going to make, but they pulled it off beautifully with only a little coaching and assistance from the adults participating.

Here’s what it looked like in the end:

 

Years ago I wrote an educational stage show called How to Catch a  Mouse, in which I build, with volunteers from the audience, a Rube Goldberg-style mousetrap on stage. The show has been a huge hit and has now be performed countless times around the world. The most recent addition to our cast is Aimee Pryor. She’s now performing the show in Texas, so if you have a connection to an elementary school or library in that part of the country looking for educational shows, Aimee is the person to help you out. If you’re looking to book the show in others areas, check out where we have cast members. Or contact us about booking a performance in other areas.

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