SHS physics class showcase Rube Goldberg machines


Photo by Neely Wells

Neely Wells

SHS Physics class presented Rube Goldberg projects Friday in Malfunction Junction and displayed them for fellow students. Mr. Dane Peagler, Physics instructor, assigned the machines at the beginning of October with a deadline of December 11, two to three months to come up with an idea and build their machines.

“My group spent over 26 hours figuring out our machine and putting it together,” junior Audrey Sowers said.

Junior Sidney Sansing told the SHS Jacket buzz it took about four to five meetings to get it built and it took almost just as long to plan it out.

Rube Goldberg was an American cartoonist sculptor, author, engineer and inventor. His most popular cartoons depict intricate gadgets completing simple tasks. The physics students were tasked with just that.

“Once we started the machine, I learned how hard it is to plan and make a Rube Goldberg machine and I couldn’t imagine having to do the project on my own,” Sowers said.

Students selected group members to build their machines. Each group consisted of two to three students and could be from any of the physics classes.

“I learned a lot about teamwork and that if one person in the group isn’t doing their part, the whole thing falls apart,” Sowers said.

Some of the machines included zipping up a zipper, watering a plant, shooting a golf ball into a cup and turning off a light bulb.

Sowers said when they were given a list of ideas for the simple task, her group decided to go with the zipper.

Sowers’ machine also included a mouse trap, marbles and lights that turned on once the machine started.

“It was so rewarding to see it all come together because we went through so many different ideas, so to finally find one that worked it made everything worth it,” Sowers said.

Many groups experienced failures before triumph. Some machines had small parts mess up, and it affected the entire machine.

At one point a part of their machine broke, but luckily her group had back up parts for every part of the machine, so they quickly replaced it and it was back to working, Sowers said.

Peaglers’ Physics students have been doing this project for many years and plan to do it for many more to come.