The Portal Rube Goldberg

Game Design

Chris Monier

School / Organization, City and State / Province
The Boys and Girls Clubs of Bellevue, Bellevue, WA

Grade Level

Standards Met For 21st Century Skills

  • Critical Thinking
  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • ICT Literacy
  • Creativity
  • Comprehension and Collaboration
  • SL. 11-12.2.Integrate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) in order to make informed decisions and solve problems, evaluating the credibility and accuracy of each source and noting any discrepancies among the data. Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas
  • SL. 11-12.4. Present information, findings, and supporting evidence, conveying a clear and distinct perspective, such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning, alternative or opposing perspectives are addressed, and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and a range of formal and informal tasks.

Time Needed
Two 50 minute periods.


  • The objective of this lesson is to show the students how game mechanics must interact in order to create a seamless game. The goal is for the students to design an incredibly complicated puzzle that can be solved with little to no player interaction using the different tools made available in the Portal 2 Puzzle Maker.
  • Students will learn the mechanics of the various tools in the Portal 2 puzzle maker and how they can potentially interact with each other.
    Students will be challenged to problem solve their machines in order to reach the goal of not only having a chamber that can solve itself, but one that can solve itself reliably.
  • Students will gain a deeper understanding of the role of game mechanics and how many different mechanics must interact to create a seamless whole.

This lesson is designed to teach students the role of game mechanics within a game. Begin by explaining to the students that a Rube Goldberg machine is a device which uses an incredibly complex series of steps in order to achieve a simple goal. Challenge the students to use all available tools in the Portal 2 Puzzle Maker to create their own puzzle, with the goal being to move a cube from one end of a room to the other using as many steps as possible reliably with little to no player interaction.


  • Game Mechanics
  • Troubleshootings
  • Reliabilitys
  • Stabilitys

Teacher Materials Needed
Video example of a Rube Goldberg Machine.

Student Materials Needed
Portal 2 Puzzle Maker.

Lesson Plan
Download The Portal Rube Goldberg