The Backyard!


  • Kayley – grade 8
  • Leah – grade 8
  • Nathan – grade 8
  • Colin – grade 8
  • Andrew – grade 8


  • Liam – grade 7
  • Mr. Vanslyke – teacher


  1. Human presses the button turning on the fan which blows ping pong ball (chemical-kinetic-chemical-mechanical-kinetic)
  2. Ping pong ball hits dominoes (Kinetic-Kinetic)
  3. Dominoes hit steel ball (kinetic-kinetic)
  4. Steel ball rolls down INCLINED PLANE hitting a switch (Kinetic-Kinetic)
  5. Switch activates the motor and turns rotor (Kinetic-Chemical-Electrical-Mechanical)
  6. Rotor turns ARCHIMEDES SCREW lifting marble (Mechanical-Kinetic and increasing Potential)
  7. Marble falls and lifts PULLEY (Kinetic-Kinetic)
  8. PULLEY hits ping pong ball (Kinetic-Kinetic)
  9. Ping pong ball rolls down INCLINED PLANE and hits switch (Kinetic-Kinetic)
  10. Switch activates motor with gears coiling up rope with magnets (Mechanical-Kinetic)
  11. Rope pulls and drops steel ball on Newton’s Cradle (Kinetic-Potential-Kinetic)
  12. Newton’s Cradle pushes wedge (Kinetic-Kinetic)
  13. WEDGE lifts LEVER (Kinetic-Kinetic)
  14. LEVER turns into INCLINED PLANE causing marble to roll down (Kinetic-Kinetic)
  15. Marble hits domino (Kinetic-Kinetic)
  16. Domino hits switch (Kinetic-Kinetic)
  17. Switch activates motor with gears (Kinetic-Kinetic)
  18. Gears turn holder releasing marble (Mechanical-Kinetic)
  19. Marble rolls down INCLINED PLANE and hits LEVER (Kinetic-Mechanical)
  20. LEVER releases catapult launching marble(Mechanical-Released elastic potential-Kinetic)
  21. Marble rolls down INCLINED PLANE and hits larger marble which then hits switch (Kinetic-Electrical)
  22. Switch lights up lights in FINAL STEP (Electrical-Light)


8 thoughts on “The Backyard!

  • Very nice design and build, great execution too of the energy transfers. Congratulations on a job well done.

  • The catapult was by far the hardest part to calibrate, it took hours in the in the last few days before the competition to work on calibrating the catapult, I ended up just adding the very large inclined plane to catch it instead of trying to make sure that it would land in the small PVC pipe, I decided to make a landing platform that better fit the landing ellipsoid.

  • Good demonstration of your understanding of simple machines. The staging is unique.

  • I really liked that you thought about making the machine coherent with a theme, so that even the Newton’s Cradle became a swing set! I wish the camera would have been a bit closer and from a bit higher angle though–there is so much I wanted to see closer! Good job!

  • Impressive Rube Goldberg machine. It is evident that your team worked collaboratively to make each transfer point unique and purposeful throughout the project. Excellent job!

    • Thank you! Although we could be a bit snippy with each other, we worked together to make our final project run smoothly.

  • Over 20 unique transfers of energy! A 17 second video that clearly took hours and hours designing and problem solving each section to work together ALL IN ONE SHOT! Nice clarity describing each step! A true example of perseverance to accomplish such a difficult task, great job!


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