Students at Jonathan Alder High School tested their imaginations recently by engineering their very own Rube Goldberg machine.
Rube Goldberg was an engineer and cartoonist well-known for his over-engineered machines designed to complete simple tasks, such as getting toothpaste onto a toothbrush or placing a napkin on one’s lap.
Students in the Engineering & Manufacturing class, taught by Laine Schrewe, worked for a few weeks on their real-world design.
The machine began with a toy car going down a ramp and onto the wheel of a bicycle, causing the wheel to slowly spin. After many, many more steps, a deck of cards suspended over a laptop by a pulley was released, hitting the space bar on a laptop, starting the theme song from the movie “Rocky” to play.
Schrewe’s 45 students, in ninth through 12th grade, worked in small groups on the project. Each group was responsible for two or three steps of the machine.
“We talk about how things can fail and look at quality repeatability. We make sure it would work over and over again without failing,” Schrewe explained.
The project also teaches students how to focus on the small part of a bigger picture, much like engineering work in the real world.
The class, which is a Tolles Career & Technical Center satellite program, will next be designing their own phone cases and printing them using a 3D printer.
“Tolles is great at providing good funding to get the equipment we use,” Schrewe said.
This is the second year the Engineering & Manufacturing class has been offered at Jonathan Alder High School.
Reach Erin Thompson at 740-852-1616, ext. 1615.