Engineering Students Display Creativity with Rube Goldberg Projects | The American University of Iraq Sulaimani

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Engineering Students Display Creativity with Rube Goldberg Projects

Tuesday, August 11, 2015 - 16:45

On April 2, 2015, students from the Dynamics class of the AUIS Engineering Department hosted an interesting exhibition of their “Rube Goldberg” projects.

Students were asked to build machines with the purpose of erasing a whiteboard, in a chain of creative steps, applying concepts that they had learned in their Dynamics class. Rube Goldberg was an American cartoonist, engineer and inventor. He has become famous for his Rube Goldberg Invention comics which depict simple tasks being completed through a series of complicated steps connected in a chain reaction. Although he never created the machines in his comics, it has inspired other engineers to create their own.

View photo gallery of the event. 

This is the first time a Rube Goldberg project has been done at AUIS. The project was supervised by Dynamics instructor, Raguez Taha. “The idea for the project came from trying to bring the concepts in ENGR 348 Dynamics  to life. I have found that in engineering, practical experience is the most beneficial way of learning, and that's where this project comes into play. Students have to apply the concepts of motion, energy, momentum and impulse to create a machine that can operate effectively,” she explained.

As part of the submission requirement, students had to explain the dynamic concepts covered in their project. They had to apply concepts such as kinematics of a particle, energy conservation/transfer, impulse, impact and Newton's Second Law. Kashma Saman, one of the students displaying a project, said, “It is great to be able to apply what we learn in the class creatively. We created this project mostly with things lying around the house, and it only cost us about 6000 Iraqi dinars.” Another student, Meer Abdulrahim found the whole experience very enjoyable, “It was very nice. It was the first practical project that was not done in a controlled environment or inside the lab. We were allowed to be as creative as we wanted to be, and we built everything used in this project ourselves.”

Taha was really impressed with the quality and creativity of her students’ projects. “I really enjoyed the experience. It was great seeing my students applying the concepts learned in class to something practical. The quality of work the students presented was quite impressive given the limited amount of time. I am very proud of my dynamics students, they are a motivated group which was apparent in their projects,” said Taha. “I would like to continue this in the future and possibly expand it to more practical exhibitions for my other classes.”

You can see the demonstration of one the projects on display, Tick and Tock, in this short video clip below. 

The Rube Goldberg annual competition invites high school and college level teams from around the world to create their own Rube Goldberg machines to complete a simple task. The link explains more about the Rube Goldberg competition: