Rube Goldberg team to enter in upcoming competition


Photo courtesy of Talia Jacobsohn

Freshman Darya Dayanim and junior Ariana Ravitz, members of the Engineering Club, work on their submission for the Rube Goldberg Machine Contest.

Ellie Fischman, Reporter

To finalize their entry for the national Rube Goldberg Machine Contest, a subgroup of the engineering club gathered their work to assemble into a single machine. They were frenzied to assemble a Rube Goldberg machine that could shake and pour a box of Nerds candy while battling wind and cold in one of the tents outside of school.

According to the Rube Goldberg Machine Contest website, a Rube Goldberg machine is a “crazy contraption which accomplishes a simple task in the most complicated and funniest way possible.” The engineering club began to work on their competition entry at the start of the school year and continued to meet over Zoom before they began to meet in-person a few weeks ago. By March 10, they will have built the machine, filmed it in action and created a team page with an explanation of it.

In a Rube Goldberg machine, each step of the contraption must lead into the next, which was difficult to accomplish in an online format. Engineering club co-presidents juniors Ariana Ravitz and Julia Peppe had to adapt the team’s process, so they delegated a few steps of the final machine to each member of the group. This system presented its own challenges, but in the end, they persevered. 

“We’re almost done and I think it doesn’t just represent our struggles, but overcoming them,” Ravitz said. “Each person is reflected in it somehow… I’m feeling good about it and I’m really, really happy with how everyone took on the challenge and did the best they could.” 

Communication and teamwork were integral in the club’s process for completing the final machine. They not only had to brainstorm together as they normally would, but also provide extra detailed information on their individual steps so the sections of the machine could transition seamlessly. Freshman Darya Dayanim said the team worked well together and truly helped each other out.

“Everyone has such good ideas that they can put in,” Dayanim said. “And it’s so nice to have people that even if it’s not their step, they’ll just point out ideas and really try to invest and make your stuff better because it helps the whole group in the end.”

Many believe that opportunities in STEM like the Rube Goldberg Machine Contest are important because they provide a creative outlet and a chance for students to grow with one another.

“It really shows [you] how to work as a team because… you can’t do this by yourself,” Ravitz said. “Everyone is in on it. I think especially now, when we’re doing school all the time, it’s a good break just to do something creative.”

COVID-19 presented this year’s club with unique challenges that amplified all of the usual hard work and effort that the Rube Goldberg competition entails. Director of Instructional Technology and the engineering club’s faculty advisor Ginger Thornton said that these challenges instilled resilience in the students.

“The most enjoyable part of this is how resilient this particular team has been because this is probably the hardest project to put together virtually…” Thornton said. “It’s been really amazing to see how resilient everyone has been and how successful they have been about putting this together within the strictures of how things are now.”