“Rube Goldberg” is defined by Merriam-Webster Dictionary as “accomplishing by complex means what seemingly could be done simply.” The definition stems from the Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist, Rube Goldberg, whose claim to fame was creating cartoons featuring eccentric machines.
In the spirit of Goldberg’s zany creations, contests around the country are held to create similar machines based on a prompt. Last week, Ms. Bailey and a group of middle school student volunteers rose to the challenge of trapping a critter using a Rube Goldberg machine. The four Bosque students who participated in this year’s competition were Rowan ‘24, Ada ‘25, Hazel ‘25, and Ma’ayan ‘25
The contest begins with a box of “things”—everyday objects such as pipe cleaners, ping pong balls, paper, and lots of tape. Competitors must then use these items in the most creative, and complex, ways to accomplish a task. Setup must be finished within a three-hour window, and the machine must be able to perform more than once with a reset time under five minutes.
‘We competed against five other middle school teams and came in 3rd place by one point,” explained Ms. Bailey. “During the first run, the second half of the machine worked and during the second run, the first half of the machine worked. So between the two, we had a full run,” she laughed.
“We all kind of worked on our own components,” said Ada. “I did the tilted table and a contraption that the ball rolls down, Hazel worked on the ending with dominoes, Ma’ayan did the wall part, and Rowan did this cool thing that triggered the ball.”
Since the team members worked on their own parts of the contraption, communication between them was vital. “It was a challenge to make sure everything fit together since we were all focused on different parts,” said Hazel. “Teamwork is key,” added Rowan.
“I've participated in Rube Goldberg for three years now,” shared Rowan. “I wanted to participate again this year because it is a challenge for myself and the team. The tasks given each year drive problem- solving and engineering in each person because you have 1) limited resources and 2) limited time.” He continued, “I have learned that when it comes to problem-solving, there are many challenges that you have to face and overcome.”
Bosque’s competitive efforts resulted in another 3nd place finish and a check for $250! Our team was generously sponsored by MZA Associates Corporation that provided the uniforms and prize money for the competition. This year’s team has donated their $250 award to Bosque tuition assistance.