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What if Rube Goldberg Played Fortnite?

Guest blog post Steve Isaacs

Fornite in the Classroom?

Are your students playing Fortnite? Silly question, right? Here’s another question. Have you thought about bringing their passion for Fortnite into the classroom? There is no question about the fact that Fortnite is quite relevant to our students. You may not realize it, but Epic Games came out with a version of the game called Fortnite Creative. In this game mode, players are given their own island in the Fortnite game world to create whatever they like. This brings the popular sandbox mode of play to Fortnite and it’s pretty awesome! My students have been doing great work with Fortnite Creative to build game worlds and working Rube Goldberg Machines.

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Rube Goldberg Lesson Plan

The Rube Goldberg lesson plan is written for students in grades 7 to 12 to teach Science and Engineering Skills. I use it with my game design and development students as it is a great way to get familiar with Fortnite Creative and the functions for automation. In my class that leads well to upcoming projects where they create games in Fortnite.

Simple Machines

To start, students learn about Rube Goldberg and simple machines. The next step is to design their Rube Goldberg machine (they come up with a written plan as well as a sketch).

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Here’s the student description to accompany their sketch:

“How Our Machine Operates:

We start out with one Baller, not operated at all except for when it is moved forward onto the track. Once the baller leaves, the first thing meets is a boost pad. The boost pads are pads on the ground that allow the baller to go at a much faster speed. After that the baller hits a bounce pad, which is a pad with bouncing capabilities that makes the baller jump and bounce far and high. After that, it meets the Toilet Bowl, which is a swirly spherical shape where the baller will eventually fall down the center of. After some more bounce pads, it meets the Pinball, which has many small spheres that can push and bounce the ball around until it reaches the bottom. Then it meets the loop, which helps the baller to gain momentum and creates a very cool pathway. After some more jump pads, it goes through the small hoops, which is a purely a design choice meant to show us the path of the baller and how stable our machine truly is. After a long section of boost pads and a loop, it goes down into our trash can where the baller finally resides. Above the trash can will be the words “FOR KOBE” wrapping up the whole machine in a satisfying way.”

Students Submit

Students submit their plan as a blog post so it can be shared with an authentic / global audience.

After their design is complete they begin to work to bring their idea to life. It is great to watch them iterate on their design as they experiment and continually assess the progress as they strive to make it work. There’s a lot of trial and error and a lot of failure ultimately leading to success. SO much collaboration, communication, and problem solving. Kids love the project and I love observing and supporting them through the process.

Student Work Samples

Here’s a YouTube playlist of student created Rube Goldberg Machines created with Fortnite Creative.

Write Fortnite Lesson Plans

Are you interested in bringing Fortnite Creative or one of the other Epic Games tools (Unreal Engine or Twinmotion) into your classroom? Epic Games is currently running a contest for educators in the US to submit lesson plans that leverage these technologies to teach Interactive 3d to your students. Prizes total $50,000 with the grand prize of $25,000 and a number of additional prizes ranging from $500 to $5,000.

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