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WCTC to host Wisconsin High School Regional Rube Goldberg Machine Contest March 1


PEWAUKEE, Wis. (Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019) – Dropping change in a piggy bank is a straightforward task, but to accomplish it in 20 steps (or more) is most certainly a challenge. To achieve such a task takes trial and error, patience, strategy and a good dose of humor.

That’s where the Rube Goldberg Machine Contest comes into play.

On Friday, March 1, about 150 high school students and instructors on 10 teams from high schools throughout Wisconsin will compete and display their money-dropping machines as part of the Wisconsin High School Regional Rube Goldberg Machine Contest (RGMC) held at Waukesha County Technical College (Service Building -- Gymnasium). Participants will demonstrate their engineering skills, compete for prizes and vie for an opportunity to advance to the finals in April at the Lawrenceberg Event Center in Lawrenceberg, Ind.

This is the ninth year WCTC will host high school regionals. Past challenges at the high school level have included applying a bandage, opening an umbrella, pouring cereal into a bowl and others.

The RGMC’s main goal is to encourage critical thinking and problem solving in a nontraditional learning environment.

“WCTC is honored to host the Rube Goldberg regional machine contest. In creating their machines, as well as troubleshooting to fix any problems that may occur, students are putting their STEM skills and imagination to the test,” said Mark Rzeznik, WCTC associate dean of Graphics, Engineering and Diesel Technologies. “Every year, I’m impressed by the amount of creativity and thought that goes into each team’s machine.”

Members of WCTC’s faculty will be among the dozens of professional engineer volunteer judges who will provide valuable feedback to students.

The RGMC challenges students to take an elementary task and provide a complex, zany solution using ordinary objects, mechanical gadgets and miscellaneous items to achieve a specific goal. The completed machine must fit in an overall space of 300 cubic feet and run for no more than 2 minutes per run.

Rounds 1 and 2 of judging will be from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., with a third round of judging from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. The awards ceremony will be from 2:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.; specialty awards will also be announced. The public is invited to attend this free event.

Schools/districts participating in the 2019 event include:

  • Bay View High School -- Milwaukee
  • Benton High School
  • Berlin High School
  • Eisenhower High School – New Berlin
  • Milwaukee Lutheran High School
  • Pius XI Catholic High School -- Milwaukee
  • St. Catherine’s High School – Racine
  • Waunakee High School
  • Waupaca High School
  • Wauwatosa School District

The RGMC is named after the Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist, sculptor, author and engineer who spent the early part of his career making “inventions” to tackle basic tasks. The event is coordinated by the Milwaukee Area Engineering and Technology Partnership, which includes WCTC, STEM Forward, Milwaukee Area Technical College and Milwaukee School of Engineering.

On Friday, April 12, WCTC will also hold a Rube Goldberg Machine Contest for middle school students (primarily from Waukesha County schools). The middle school challenge is to flip a switch in eight or more steps.

To learn more about the machine contests, visit www.rubegoldberg.com.

About Waukesha County Technical College

Waukesha County Technical College, the leader in workforce development, prepares learners for success within the region and global economy. The College offers more than 150 areas of study including associate degree, technical diploma, apprenticeships and short-term certificate programs; customized training for employers is also available. To learn more, visit www.wctc.edu.