Rube Goldberg competition gives students hands-on experience - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Rube Goldberg competition gives students hands-on experience

Students at Ocean Springs High School held a competition Thursday to see who could over-think the best. (Photo source: WLOX) Students at Ocean Springs High School held a competition Thursday to see who could over-think the best. (Photo source: WLOX)
The school's annual Rube Goldberg competition proved that even the simplest tasks can be super complicated. (Photo source: WLOX) The school's annual Rube Goldberg competition proved that even the simplest tasks can be super complicated. (Photo source: WLOX)
OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) -

Students at Ocean Springs High School held a competition Thursday to see who could over-think the best.

The school's annual Rube Goldberg competition proved that even the simplest tasks can be super complicated. Physics teacher Scott Hawkins has been hosting the class project for 16 years, and says it's something the students always look forward to.

"They come up with some really amazing things," said Hawkins.

The students are tasked with creating complex contraptions for simple actions - such as taking a picture, or putting something in a box - that must happen in more than 10 steps. The project is inspired by Rube Goldberg's drawings of complex machines satirizing the industrial era.

The students set up their machines throughout the gym and student judges marked up score sheets for each team. One team got a round of applause after it's machine impressed a small crowd of fellow students, and Mr. Hawkins himself. 

"First, weighted cans are going to go uphill, turning a pulley, which is going to activate a hammer, which is going to hit a bowling ball, pulling a nail out of a fan, which is going to push a boat across water, knocking over another can which is going to set off a rat trap, which is going to fling a golf ball into a cone, which is going to set off a newton's cradle, starting the dominoes and hitting a that was easy button. But, even until the last second, it was frustrating," explained Adam St. Amant.

St. Amant and his team spent about three weeks putting the pieces together for their complex Rube Goldberg machine, which went off without a hitch for their teacher.

"It's gone off with hitches every time before the teacher came, so, we're just happy it worked," said St. Amant.

All of the students seemed to have a good time, whether or not their machine performed as expected.

"It was just fun overall. It was fun constructing the stuff," said Josh Cochran.

Other students agreed.

"I got to hang out with all my friends in my group. We got to hang out after school, build it, and it was just a fun project to do," said Sarah Ryan.

And if nothing else, it may have helped the students appreciate the simpler things in life. Students competed in several categories including best design, and best overall project.

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