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Rube Goldberg Machines

A Rube Goldberg Machine is a heavily over-engineered solution to a simple problem.

In different cultures, they are known by other names.
In the UK, they are known as Heath Robinson contraptions.
Wallace and Gromit's Cracking Contraptions would be an excellent modern example of the genre:

Our first project will be to design and build a selection of Rube Goldberg Machines

Activity 1: a Scratch virtual Rube Goldberg machine
Activity 2: trialling different trigger mechanisms
Activity 3: adding extra effects