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Science students create ‘Rube Goldberg’ machines

By Amanda Crowl, editor in chief

Rube Goldberg, an american cartoonist, was famous for creating drawings of complex machines to complete simple tasks. Mr. Chris Greco’s seventh grade science class constructed machines just like Goldberg’s with student teacher Ms. Maile Chang, and they were tested in class on March 17.

“I did this in eighth grade, and I thought it was a really good way to figure out all the scientific methods. There’s inquiring, there’s questioning,” Chang said. “It’s basically how an engineer works.”

Students were asked to make blueprints, rough drafts, and eventually a final draft. Once the design was completed, they built their machine and tested to see whether it completed its task or failed.

“It was like all science combined into one,” Chang said.

One group of students, Camryn Harakal, Celina Price, and Lauren Wright created a fizzy project.

“Our task was originally elephant toothpaste, but we simplified it into vinegar and baking soda,” Harakal said. “It starts with a lever and you rotate it, then it hits a golf ball and a bouncy ball down into a wood thing that we made. We cut it out perfectly so the golf ball falls into the wood thing, so the bouncy ball can roll right over top of it and it rolls into a cup.

“Then that weighs the cup down enough so it drops and pulls up an index card, which is blocking another bouncy ball from going down a PVC pipe. Once it goes down a pipe it hits a car, and pushes a cup of vinegar off of the table and that goes into the bucket of baking soda.”

The baking soda and vinegar successfully combined in the end.

“It is very hard to come up with,” Harakal said. “We had to do multiple drafts, and we had to experiment in certain elements for the project to work, and then put them all together to make it.”

Other groups in class were also very successful. Students had three tries to get the complicated chain of events to properly complete the task. Harakal’s group completed their task on the first try.

“I like that it involves STEM, because we got to work with all of science, not just biology,” Wright said.

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Journalism Adviser, Saegertown Jr. Sr. High School

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