QUINCY — Piper Eddy, a fifth-grade student at St. Peter, could have walked to a faucet to fill a cup of water.
Instead, she used a marble to knock down a line of dominoes to pop a balloon filled with water, which flowed from a tube into a cup.
“I’d rather just pour water into a cup,” Eddy admitted. “It’s a bit over the top, but fun.”
The design was one of 27 on display Friday afternoon at the first Rube Goldberg Fair at the St. Peter Wilhelm Johnson Scholz STEM Lab.
The school’s fourth, fifth and sixth graders spent nearly a month learning about Goldberg, a Pulitzer Prize-winning engineer-turned-draughtsman, and creating his eponymous machines to accomplish a simple task in a Not that easy.
As part of the People’s Choice project designed by Claire Gramke, Sydney Meyer, Anistyn Willingham and Lilly Fischer, students demonstrated their machines and explained the energy required to use inclined planes and pulleys to light a lamp or recharge a mobile phone.
Teacher Nicole Genenbacher said the science fair offered “real world application” of what students are learning in her science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, classroom.
“They thought of the craziest ways to do the simplest things. They think it’s fun and hilarious and then realize it’s really hard to think that way,” she said.
“If it doesn’t work, you can just try again in a different way,” said fourth-grade student Sarah Hagedorn, who worked on a machine that used marbles, tubes, a track and a toy car to make pop a balloon.
“You learn to improvise,” Eddy said.
“It’s not as easy as it looks when you see videos of people building huge Rube Goldberg projects,” said sixth-grade student Tyler Goestenkor, who worked with a group to build a rube goldberg machine. distribute Uno cards. “It’s more fun doing it that way.”
Genenbacher hopes the time spent in the lab will challenge the students.
“Every time you moan and moan, your brain is working, you’re thinking, and you’re growing,” she told students. “That’s what worries me the most, rather than whether you like it or not.” »
But fourth-grade student Curtis Robnett said he enjoyed the challenge of creating a machine to put dog food in a dish.
Chunks of dog food fell onto a Hot Wheels track in a tunnel, then into the bowl — sometimes.
“Sometimes it bounces back. Sometimes it bounces around,” said fourth-grader Jefferson Miller.
“It was really fun, but it was surprising how hard you can do something,” Robnett said. “I like difficulty better because it’s harder.”
Genenbacher wants to see the fair become an annual event to challenge students.
More importantly, she wants to change their mindset.
“I want them to start having that engineering mindset, asking questions and noticing different things that they didn’t do before, thinking about other careers,” she said. .
Next year, however, they will need a new idea for a machine.
“They can’t repeat the same project they did that first year, especially for my fourth-graders,” she said. “I want to see how they grow every year.”