Weber State University will host a live Rube Goldberg-machine-building contest on Jan. 19. A Rube Goldberg machine is a purposely complicated contraption that uses multiple materials sequentially activated to accomplish a simple task, such as raising a flag or cutting a string.

Rube Goldberg-machine-building contests have become common occurrences in the world of science, technology, math and engineering in the past 30 years.

“At WSU, the event started as a collaboration with the Hill Air Force Base Air Force Association and The College of Engineering, Applied Science & Technology in 2015,” said Dana Dellinger, Center for Technology Outreach director. “The AFA contacted me to tell me about this fun and creative problem-solving competition that also encourages engineering thinking in kids and ask if Weber State would like to partner with them on a state-level event. I immediately agreed because in EAST, we love to encourage and support great STEM K-12 programs in our community. That Rube Goldberg-machine contest melds creativity and engineering makes it a perfect fit for our college.”

Rube_Goldberg_Machine_(278696130).jpg
(Wikimedia)
Rube_Goldberg_Machine_(278696130).jpg
(Wikimedia)

Attendees can expect a creative competition for which 13 teams have been planning their contraptions for months.

“The 2018 task sounds simple — pour a bowl of cereal,” Dellinger said. “However, the whole point of a Rube Goldberg machine is to do something simple in the most complex and curious way possible. The teams have been planning and building their machines for a couple months and will bring them to the Shepherd Union, reassemble, test and re-test, then show off to judges and the public just how difficult they can make pouring a bowl of cereal be.”

The contest itself is intended for students from kindergarten to twelfth grade, but anyone is invited to attend and observe the building of the machines.

The competition will be held on Jan. 19 in the Shepherd Union Ballroom, beginning at noon.

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