The Homestead High School Science Club didn't win Saturday at the Rube Goldberg Machine Contest national high school championship, but they finished strong, grabbing eighth place among 15 teams.
The team's machine, “Space Exploration,” completed two perfect runs and one where students had to touch it once to help it along, said Mark Lenfestey, club adviser and Homestead science department chairman.
“We learned a lot, and the kids had a lot of fun,” Lenfestey said of the competition at Waukesha County Technical College in Pewaukee, Wis.
Craig High School of Janesville, Wis., finished first, followed by teams from Hoffman Estates, Ill., and Kimberly, Wis., it says on the contest website, www.rubegoldberg.com.
Homstead advanced to the national finals by placing first in the regional competition March 2 at the COSI science museum in Columbus, Ohio.
Teams had to create machines that use at least 20 steps and less than 2 minutes to hammer a nail.
Homestead students' machine took 30 steps, which included starting the machine by pressing the “Space” key on a computer keyboard, a water balloon popping, simulating the Big Bang Theory, an alien spaceship beaming up cows to abduct them and a hammer that looks like a rocket ship swinging toward the lunar surface to drive a nail into the moon.
The Rube Goldberg Machine Contest was inspired by the art and humor of Rube Goldberg, a nationally syndicated newspaper cartoonist who drew highly complicated and comical machines to do a simple task.