Team # 215: Contraption Crew TEAM PAGE

Wamogo Middle School
Litchfield, CT Connecticut, United States

Online Contest:
Open An Umbrella
Online Division I - Ages 11 - 14 (Middle School)
Team Leader: Susan Brooks
Team Members: 12
Invitations: 0

What we're studying:
Science 8 is all about physical science. After we learned about matter, atoms, and the periodic table, we studied motion, forces, Newton's laws, energy, work, and simple machines. In the next few months, we'll be building bridges, making more Rube Goldberg machines (Contraption Crew is an after-school club - all 8th graders will build machines during class), make paper roller coasters, and design and build water bottle rockets. We are also waiting to hear if any of our five proposals for the "Cubes in Space" program have been accepted by NASA. If so, we'll be sending an experiment to the uppermost part of the atmosphere on a research balloon or sounding rocket.

Our Team Leader's favorite quote:
"Nobody bump the table!"

Why we think we should win:
We did almost all of the work ourselves - we built the entire machine without any help from adults. Our teacher mostly cleaned up after us and kept us focused. We worked really well together, with different people responsible for different parts of the machine and its operation. Even though we had to listen to the beginning of the same song about a million times when we were trying to get our entire machine to work, we still love the music of "Hamilton: An American Musical." A couple of us were lucky enough to see the Broadway play, and it has inspired us to read the (very long) novel that inspired the musical. Our machine meets all of the requirements, and it is AWESOME! And finally, our theme connects perfectly with the task for this year's contest, since an umbrella was used at the duel that ended Alexander Hamilton's life.

Suggestion for next year's challenge:
We'll be helping the other people in our science classes to make machines that ring a cowbell. That's a good challenge because you not only see it, but you can hear it - MORE COWBELL!

Favorite Rube Goldberg video:

Our Rube Goldberg machine has steps that relate to the life of Alexander Hamilton. We didn't know it when we chose our theme for this year's competition, but it turns out that an umbrella played a role in the duel between Hamilton and Burr. After he shot Hamilton, Burr was taken away under the cover of an umbrella. So the final action of our Rube Goldberg machine is part of the final moments of Hamilton's life! Other parts of our machine describe his emigration from the Caribbean, his fateful vote for Thomas Jefferson, a document that he wrote and the slippery slope it produced, and, of course, the duel.

Our Step List

1. The boat carrying Alexander Hamilton (played by Isaac Newton) from his early life in the Caribbean to America is pulled away, allowing a marble to roll down a ramp.
2. The marble rolls into a cup and then hits a series of dominoes.
3. The last domino falls off the shelf and hits a ruler, causing it to fall.
4. The ruler is tied to fishing line that passes through a pulley and is tied to a domino on a suspended platform.
5. That domino is pulled into another series of dominoes, and the last one falls into the ballot box for Thomas Jefferson, which represents Hamilton's work to get Jefferson elected over Burr in the electoral college.
6. The ballot box slowly falls into a golf ball.
7. The golf ball pulls a block, causing a marble to start down the tubing.
8. The marble travels past a sign that says "Reynolds pamphlet," which is a document that Hamilton wrote to clear his name of embezzlement charges but acknowledged an affair with a married woman. The tubing represents the "slippery slope" that this caused. The marble rolls across the table and knocks a block off.
9. The block is attached by a string to the trigger of the rubber band gun "held" by Aaron Burr, which is pulled by the force of the falling block, releasing the elastic potential energy stored in the rubber band.
10. The rubber band hits Alexander Hamilton attached to a book with his good friend, George Washington, on the cover.
11. The falling book hits a bowling ball (which was certainly not present at the duel!).
12. The bowling ball pushes on a five pound dumbbell, which is connected to the umbrella by a string.
13. The string pulls the button on the umbrella, and the elastic potential energy stored in the mechanism causes the umbrella to open, releasing the sign for our machine.

Our Close-ups: Photos

Our Close-ups: Favorite Step

Our Close-ups: Task Completion

Our Machine Explaination and Walkthrough

Our Machine Run Videos

Machine Run #1
Machine Run #2