The Energy Story

  Energy Is Born
  Energy Types
  Energy Changes
  Energy Generation

The Energy Problem

  Conservation of Energy
  Aging of Energy
  Finite Resources
  The Oil "Crisis"
  Energy Pollution
  Discussion Topics

The Energy Solution

  Conserving Electricity
  Appliance Efficiency
  Heating Conservation
  Renewable Energy

Web Links

Teacher Guide

About the Author

Secret Lives Title - The Energy Story

Energy Changes

We have seen many examples of energy changes, from simple changes from one type into another, to chains of energy changes that may or may not be continuous. The project below will give you a chance to practice your knowledge of energy types, energy changes, and chains of energy changes.


Rube Goldberg Project

Rube Goldberg was an award-winning cartoonist, who drew machines and contraptions of marvelous complexity and ingenuity to perform such basic tasks as scratching your back or killing a mosquito. Rube created these drawings for 55 years, from the period of World War I to his death in 1970.

Goldberg's drawings of absurdly connected machines that actually seemed to work became so widely known that Webster's Dictionary added "rube goldberg" to its listing, defining it as "accomplishing by extremely complex, roundabout means what seemingly could be done simply." His name has become associated with any screwball apparatus that performs a simple task.

Here is a Rube Goldberg drawing of a device designed to use a napkin. More information about Goldberg and his drawings can be found on the websites listed below.

Rube Goldberg Example graphic

Rube Goldberg TM & of Rube Goldberg, Inc. Distributed by United Feature Syndicate, Inc
More On Rube Goldberg
The Official Rube Goldberg Website Includes the 2001 contest - clean and peel an apple in 20 steps or more.
Argonne National Laboratories Rube Goldberg Machine Contest
International Museum of Cartoon Art Rube Goldberg
Simple Machines Invention Invent a new Rube Goldberg device.
Assignment - Rube Goldberg Drawing
Rube Goldberg devices are wonderful examples of energy changing from one type to another type.


Make a drawing of a Rube Goldberg device of your own creation which includes examples of each of the 10 basic types of energy and 10 different energy changes.
* 10 energies - these should be clearly labeled and numbered in blue next to where the energy occurs in the drawing.
* 10 different energy changes - arrows should be drawn connecting each energy in the drawing to the next in red to show how one type of energy is changing into another.
Notes: Make sure you label all of the energies on your drawing even if they are duplicates and not part of the 10 energies in blue. Also, show all energy changes even if they are not the 10 different ones whose arrows are in red. Not all energies will be connected with arrows since not all energies will be directly changing from one form to another. Some energies will not change into another, but cause an energy from another source to be started. Remember the example of the broken energy chain.

Large paper and drawing crayons. Fee free to use any other art supplies that you deem necessary.
Grading Rubric: 10 correct energies @ 1 point each
10 correct energy changes @1 point each
all other energies and changes shown = 5 points
artistic and energy creativity = 5 points
Total Points