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Seventeen teams of high school students, ages 14-18, from Minnesota and Iowa competed on March 3rd to design the most elaborate and hilarious, but also functional ways to apply a BAND-AID® at the annual Rube Goldberg Machine Contest at Minnesota State University, Mankato. The regional event lets high school students display their creativity, humor and ingenuity while learning about engineering.

The teams participating compete for a regional title and to qualify for the Rube Goldberg Machine Contest on Sunday, March 26 at the Center of Science and Industry (COSI) in Columbus, Ohio, where teams will compete to become the Rube Goldberg Machine Contest Division II champion. The first National Rube Goldberg Machine Contest was held in 1988.

The results of this year’s competition are as follows:
1st Place*:  Kitchen Krew (Chatfield HS – Chatfield, MN)
2nd Place:  Mamma Morty’s Kitchen (Southland HS – Adams, MN)
3rd Place:  Pier Entertainment (Southland HS– Adams, MN)
Rube Goldberg Creative Spark: Pier Entertainment (Southland HS– Adams, MN)
Spirit of Rube Goldberg Award:Pier Entertainment (Southland HS– Adams, MN)
Rube Goldberg Teamwork Award:Pier Entertainment (Southland HS– Adams, MN)

Other fun miscellaneous awards:

  • Most unique use of a household item:  Mamma Morty’s Kitchen (Southland HS, Adams, MN)
  • Most reliable Design: MR Bruisers (Maple River HS, Mapleton, MN)
  • Best Decoration/Design: Movie Makers (Chatfield HS – Chatfield HS)
  • Most Unique Display: Crazy Kitchen (SW MN Christian HS – Edgerton, MN)
  • Student’s Choice Award (chosen by MSU engineering students) – Kitchen Krew (Chatfield HS, Chatfield, MN)

A Rube Goldberg Machine Contest is an event where students of all ages compete with the machines they have imagined, designed and created in a fun and competitive forum. The competitions encourage teamwork and out-of-the-box problem solving, in a fresh learning environment and level playing field. To compete in a Rube Goldberg Machine Contest requires only a pile of junk and a great imagination.

Rube Goldberg (1883-1970) was an engineer, sculptor, author and Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist who depicted overly complex machines performing simple tasks. The machines that he drew often were impossible to build and operate, but were entertaining because they defied implementation. Goldberg spent most of his career as a cartoonist for the New York Evening Mail, founding the National Cartoonist Society and winning a Pulitzer Prize.

To view the KEYC TV news story on the competition: Students Showcase Creativity at Rube Goldberg or read the Mankato Free Press article: High schoolers engineer complicated, creative ways to apply a Band-aid (videos)