An Independent School • Grades 5-12

by Heather Butler, Middle School library/digital life teacher, and Tom Butler, Upper School mathematics teacher

Want a great project to work on with your family and stay-at-home friends? We are challenging Lakeside students, families, alumni, faculty, and staff to create a Rube Goldberg machine. There are prizes for the top three entries in four different divisions!!

What is a Rube Goldberg machine?

A Rube Goldberg machine is a machine that performs a simple task by completing a series of complex actions. Watch the promo video for an example from the Butler family! Also, take a look at this classic music video:  Ok Go – This Too Shall Pass (an appropriate song for this time in our lives!).

What are the prizes?

Watch the promo above and find out the answer!

What are the divisions?

Middle School students, Upper School students, alumni, and faculty and staff

If families have a member in two different divisions (both a Middle School student and Upper School student, for example), they must select which division to enter.

What are the rules?
  1. The machine must be 10-20 steps.
  2. The machine must perform the task of dropping a bar of soap into someone’s hand.
  3. Entries will be in the form of an unedited video. The entire Rube Goldberg must be filmed in one take.
  4. One entry per family, and please pick one division.
  5. Entries must be received by May 31.
Where should I submit my video?

Students, current families, faculty, and staff, can submit by filling out this form!

Alumni should submit by emailing a link to their video to

How will the winners be decided?

A panel of impartial judges will decide winners based on creativity, resourcefulness in use of everyday objects, and degree of difficulty of machine.

Good luck, everyone!