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The RUBE GOLDBERG MACHINE CONTEST at 30: Inspiring Kids with “The Grandfather of STEM”

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Rube Goldberg Machine ContestIf you’ve ever seen Back to the Future, played a game of Mouse Trap or watched a recent OK Go video (particularly “This Too Shall Pass”), then you’ve seen a Rube Goldberg Machine. These creations are elaborate, generally ridiculous machines that are crafted for the purpose of accomplishing a mundane task… like brewing a cup of coffee or feeding your dog. Rube Goldberg has been called “the grandfather of S.T.E.M.” due to the enduring legacy of his iconic illustrations. Goldberg was a Pulitzer Prize-winning engineer and cartoonist, and his “invention cartoons” were the blueprint for countless contraptions that now bear his name. In 1988, things became official with the start of the RUBE GOLDBERG MACHINE CONTEST®, originally as a college competition. Three decades later, the annual contest encourages student inventors from across the country to create the best machines that they can, and for the 30th Anniversary, the 2018 contest came to a conclusion in Chicago.

In April, more than 350 student inventors came together to compete in the historic 30th Anniversary RUBE  GOLDBERG MACHINE CONTEST Live Finals that took place at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry. This year’s challenge was to “Pour a Bowl of Cereal” and the Task Sponsor was General Mills.  Students from elementary to college levels made this simple task ridiculously complicated and were judged on their teamwork, creativity and the spirit of Rube Goldberg.

Many of these students would agree that their teachers were an integral part of their creations and the experience taught them to work hard, work together, all while having fun building their very own Rube Goldberg Machine.  

Be sure to check out the highlight video via General Mills above, and keep an eye on the official site for the next chance to get involved. The 2019 RUBE GOLDBERG MACHINE CONTEST season begins in September! 

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