Elk Mound High School wins regional Rube Goldberg contest
March 20, 2017
Elk Mound High
School dominated the competition Monday, March 20, at the Rube Goldberg Machine
Contest regional hosted by University of Wisconsin-Stout.
machine, named Santa’s Workshop, took first place and earned two other trophies
to lead five teams in the technology and engineering challenge at the Memorial
Elk Mound earned
96.6 points from a panel of judges, who included UW-Stout Chancellor Bob Meyer,
besting Plum City, 82.1 points, and Siren, 72.7. Also competing were Spooner
and Rice Lake.
Elk Mound also won
the Creative Spark Award and the Teamwork Award while Spooner won the Spirit of
Rube Goldberg Award.
With the victory,
Elk Mound is eligible to compete in the national high school contest Saturday,
March 25, in Columbus, Ohio. In 2015 the team took third place nationally.
The competition challenges students to create a machine that
turns a simple procedure into something complicated. The event is named after
an early 20th century engineer and cartoonist whose work spoofed modern
Machines must have a minimum of 20 steps and be a standard
size. They are judged on creativity and functionality.
This year’s national challenge is to apply an adhesive
bandage. Elk Mound’s machine did just that while stretching out the process to the
maximum 75 steps. Student Tanner Stockdill, a freshman, played the role of injury-prone
Ralph the Elf and had the bandage applied to the back of his hand by a drill
that was turning a roll of duct tape, which held the bandage.
The machine performed perfectly during the first of two competition
runs and was restarted once during the second run. Some of the processes and
objects it uses include a bicycle wheel, various balls, chutes and ramps, a
peppermint stick and chocolate bar, a teeter totter, a belt sander that starts
a rolling saw blade in motion, a marble that bounces off two bongo drums and
into a box, a steam shovel and a toy train.
“We were fairly confident we would win. Our goal was to get
to the 75-step limit and make it work perfectly,” said Elk Mound team member Caleb
Young, a junior.
Lucas Audorff, technology education teacher at Elk Mound and
the team’s adviser, said the nine team members worked approximately 1,000 hours
— mostly outside of class — over two academic quarters to create the machine. He
noted that teams also must write and tell a story about their machine so they
learn language arts in addition to the sciences.
“What I like most is the teamwork and the collaborative
effort. Kids are making friendships and learn how to respect each other,” he
said, noting that students from freshmen to seniors are on the team. Audorff is
a 1998 UW-Stout graduate.
The event was hosted by the UW-Stout Technology Education
Engineering Collegiate Association. About 12 TEECA members majoring either in
technology education or in science and technology education were involved.
Program adviser and instructor Barb Bauer helped coordinate the vent.
“We’re here to get the kids thinking about engineering and
the sciences, to get their creativity flowing,” said Zack Olsen, of Bonduel, a
junior, one of the TEECA members. “The high school students put in a phenomenal
TEECA members also gave the high school students a quick tour
of campus before the competition, including stops in the construction lab and
the Discovery Center’s Fab Lab.
Mound High School student Tanner Stockdill, as Ralph the Elf, shows a bandage
on the back of his hand after the team’s Rube Goldberg machine Santa’s Workshop
finished a run Monday, March, 20, at UW-Stout. Elk Mound won the regional
Siren High School student shows a bandage on his arm after his team’s Rube
Goldberg machine finished a run Monday.
City High School students set up their Jurassic Park machine at the Rube
Goldberg regional competition at UW-Stout.
Goldberg contest judges, including UW-Stout Chancellor Bob Meyer, second from left,
watch a student describe the Spooner High School entry.