A tiny marble dropped from the top of a ramp, its motion setting off a chain reaction of events. First it lifted a lever, which released a rope to raise a flag, signifying the end of the process. This was one of many impressive machines, especially because they were built by Locust Valley Middle School students in Jeffrey Maier’s and Steve Wolf’s Science Research course, in which they are studying simple machines. Called Rube Goldberg Machines, they are devices that use more engineering than necessary to perform a simple task in a complicated manner, often by setting off a chain reaction of events.

The young inventors worked in teams to create a unique device that met the criteria of starting by the release of a marble, including at least 5 simple machines, including at least one lever and ending by raising up a flag.

Students created videos of their machines in action, using their Google Chromebooks. Working collaboratively with their teammates students created and edited the videos that included music and special effects. 

The Locust Valley Google cloud platform allows students to work collaboratively in real-time. LVCSD K-12 Science Coordinator, Ken Packert said while the Google platform is saving the District money, the educational value it provides is priceless. “Students’ capabilities to work together in new and creative ways are unlimited,” he said.