Lookout Mountain, GA, USA

Online Contest:
Inflate A Balloon and Pop It!
Online Division I - Ages 11 - 14 (Middle School)
Team Leader: Dr. Frank Brock
Team Members: 7
Invitations: 0

What we're studying:
Engineering, teamwork, patience, creativity.

Our Team Leader's favorite quote:
Patience!! It's 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration.

Why we think we should win:
Used ingenious ideas to recycle materials and create some never-seen-before steps described with rap.

Suggestion for next year's challenge:
Opening a jar

You won’t believe what happened when a caterpillar stumbled on to our construction site? It caused a scary explosion!

Our Step List



1. Wind-up caterpillar inches toward dominoes
2. Domino effect
3. Knocks down pole supporting bobcat (block of wood with wheels made from washers)
4. Bobcat careens thru parking lot (plywood)
5. And crashes into barrier which pivots
6. Dislodging plate holding sand in silo (funnel, sand tank made from rolled up plastic)
7. Releasing sand from silo onto the handmade copper blades soldered to a copper tube
8. Causing the tube to turn
9. With each rotation a marble tumbles a hole in the tube and then onto the shoot hanging over the tank
10. As the marbles tumble into the tank balanced on a board held by a dowel
11. The tanks drops lower
12. Siphoning the liquid in the adjacent tank into tank
13. Combined effect of marbles and increasing weight of siphoned liquid
14. Puts increasing pressure on the restraining until all the slack in the guide wire is gone
15. And the tension on the spring holding the guide wire to the larch increases
16. Until the tension on the spring is sufficient to pulls the latch loose
17. A spring loaded hinged board (called construction retaining wall) slams into tethered ball
18. Which falls off its stand
19. Unwinds and slams into construction ball
20. Causing ball at other end of balance to tumble toward ground
21. This ball is restrained by a rope and pulleys attached to a maget
22. The force of falling ball pulls the magnet holding the hammer
23. And the hammer crashes into copper plate on the end of a rod in an old bell-chime tube
24. Driving the steel rod forward through the tube until it dislodges the steel rod up at the other end of the tube
25. The steel rod is attached to a gate in the PVC tube which restrains a spring loaded dowel
26. The weight of the steel rod made heavier by large washers pulls the gate from the plastic tubing
27. Releasing the tension on the spring
28. Which shoots the steel ball into the tube
29. The steel ball falls through a plastic tube into the homemade wooden maize
30. Finally dropping the ball into a bucket suspended by a string on a balanced beam
31. Causing bucket of rocks that was carefully balanced to start falling
32. When the slack is gone, the heavy bucket pulls up the gate holding back rocks in the PVC chute
33. As the gate is lifted, a large rock held by the gate careens down the chute
34. Slamming into the pole propping up the canning jar holding bicarbonate of soda at one end of a PVC pipe
35. As the jar of bicarbonate of soda goes down, it lifts up another jar at the other end of the PVC pipe in a see-saw effect
36. The vinegar (acetic acid) in the second jar begins to flow into the jar of bicarbonate of soda through the PVC tube
37. Producing carbon dioxide (CO2) through a chemical reaction
38. CO2 escapes through a copper tube, a second tube, in the jar of bicarbonate of soda
39. Balloon on the end of the tube begins is blown up by the CO2 being created
40. Until the expanding balloon pushes up the notched PVC restraining the dowel
41. Large rubber bands plunge the dowel forward
42. Plunging nails into the balloon to release the harmless gas and the confetti in the balloon

Our Close-ups: Photos

Our Close-ups: Favorite Step

Our Close-ups: Task Completion

Our Machine Explaination and Walkthrough

Our Machine Run Videos