Teams of students from around the region were handed a box
full of disparate but common items and given about two and a half hours to
design and built their own version of a Rube Goldberg machine. The items
included such objects as marbles, string, tape, popsicle sticks, balloons,
tennis balls, toy cars, fishing line, dominoes, foam insulation tubes, and
assorting other doodads.
A Rube Goldberg machine has been defined as “a contraption,
invention, device or apparatus that is deliberately over-engineered to perform
a simple task in a complicated fashion, usually including a chain reaction.” It
is named for American cartoonist and inventor Rube Goldberg (1883-1970).
The machines were required to include at least five
transfers of energy initiated by the touch of a single item ... a marble
released down a paper towel tube, for example. Each team was also required to
develop a theme for their project, demonstrate a creative use of materials, and
write a one-page handout for judges that detailed the energy changes taking
place in their machine.
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