Imagine this: Your online school student drops a marble into a paper towel tube chute. The marble slides down and hits a chain of dominoes. The dominoes fall, and the final one hits a small toy car. The car pushes a dog treat off the edge of the table. Success! The family dog snatches up the treat when it falls to the floor.
This is an example of a Rube Goldberg machine, a complex contraption designed to achieve a simple task. It’s actually listed in Merriam-Webster’s dictionary as an adjective: “doing something simple in a very complicated way that is not necessary.”