A Whistling Good Idea – STEM Rube Goldberg machine

STEM picture book rube goldberg machineA Whistling Good Idea – STEM Rube Goldberg machine – Nivi has to turn the cooker off for Ma. It’d be really simple to just turn it off right? But what about if she builds a cool machine to do it for her? This picture book for grades 2 to 5 is a fun read with an interesting exercise at the end.

This STEM book, featuring a female main character, helps promote awareness of STEM topics for girls, who often can be put off by the lower numbers of their peers interested in the subjects.

If you’re looking for more information about promoting STEM for girls, see this guidebook from a UK NGO,

Note: In this fictional story the main character does use a Rube Goldberg machine in a rather cute but unrealistic fashion with gas and a hot pot, remind children about the dangers and potential inaccuracies of this type of machine, ESPECIALLY not to play with gas and heat in a system like this! If building a machine of their own, remin children of the important to only to experiment with safe items. 

Author: Rahul Raghavan, Illustrator: Ravi Gupta

Sample Text from A Whistling Good Idea – STEM rube goldberg

“Nivi! Turn the cooker off after three whistles, okay?”

Ma says. Ma is going to the market to buy vegetables for dinner.

Nivi makes a face.
THUMP! She puts her book down. PWFFT! She sticks her tongue out at the cooker.

Nivi taps her foot on the floor.
She waits and waits for the whistle to blow.

All of a sudden, she has an idea!

Nivi picks up the rolling pin and places it close to the gas knob.

She arranges a row of tomatoes and potatoes behind it.




<End of Page 5 of 17 (including exercises) of A Whistling Good Idea>

Click on the button (download or read online) below the post to keep reading the full picture book (- with pictures:-).

Exercise from A Whistling Good Idea – Building a Rube Goldberg Machine of Your Own

Try your hand at building your own Rube Goldberg machine to drop a teaspoon. Here’s how.
You will need:
1 thin book rolled up as a cylinder, 2 smooth long sticks for a slope, 2 thick books, 2 rulers, 1 marker, 1 eraser, 1 ball,
3 notebooks, 1 light plastic jar, a bundle of string, 1 teaspoon, 1 vessel, 1 smooth beam

Slide the cylinder down a slope.
The cylinder hits two books, placed standing up. They fall on a ruler, which is balanced on a marker. This, in turn, tips a ball.
The ball hits three notebooks.
They land on the edge of the second ruler, balanced on an eraser.
A jar, placed on the other end of the ruler, is attached to a piece of string.
The string is looped around a smooth beam above.
The free end of the string is tied to a spoon.
The jar rises when the third notebook falls on the ruler.
The string falls down, dropping the spoon into the vessel.

This book is released in the creative commons by Storyweaver, helping ensure every child has enough books to read!

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This book can make a great starting point for some early engineering projects in elementary school or for home schoolers, if you want to look at more books that have topics, exercises, and ideas suitable for school projects, check out our School Project category 🙂

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