Open An Umbrella
Online Division I - Ages 11 - 14 (Middle School)
What we're studying:
We are studying the Solar System and machines. So, we combined the two for our project. We also study protecting the environment and we use recyclables as much as we can.Our Team Leader's favorite quote:
Everything has to be perfect, every single time.Why we think we should win:
We think we should win for a couple reasons. Our school has entered the Rube Goldberg contest for three years. Every year we get better. This is the first year that our machine worked without any assistance. We were proud of that. Also, we try very hard each year to use recyclable items. for as many steps as possible because we are a Green School. We think it was funny that we had a popped balloon for the Big Bang of the Universe. Last, we worked really well together to solve problems and made each of the steps work well.Suggestion for next year's challenge:
Cut a piece of cake
Draw a music staff
Draw a mustache on a picture
Peel a bananaFavorite Rube Goldberg video:
First, Pluto receives energy when we push the ball. This causes it to swing back and forth activating the marble resting on the cardboard slide. The marble then rolls down the slide into the cup that is attached to Neptune causing Neptune to turn because of the imbalance of weight placed upon the wheel. During the construction of this phase our team faced multiple problems. First we needed a way to keep the cardboard slide in place once the marble finished sliding down. We solved this by narrowing down the hole that supported the slide and attaching a narrow, long stick to the bottom of the slide for support. The next problem was the height of the cardboard box holding Pluto. The box alone was not tall enough to put the marble into the cup. We solved this by propping the box on another box and a plank of wood. Another problem we faced was the wheel holding Neptune. The cup and Neptune were placed in a way that when the marble dropped into the cup the wheel turned the wrong way because of imbalance. We solved this by fixing the position of the Sea God Neptune so that when the marble went into the cup, the wheel turned the right way. The pins on Neptune popped the balloon which lowered a weighted tube.
We had to think hard about how to get a popping balloon to knock over the decks of cards. Finally, we decided that if a weighted tube rested on the balloon, it would lower when there was no air in the balloon. So, we attached a paper towel to the tube and that was what started the decks of cards transferring energy up the brick steps. One of the biggest challenges was getting the planet Saturn to turn and show Jupiter. We had to revise the way the planet and decks of cards were connected. In order for Saturn to turn the deck of cards had to fall without getting in the way of the other decks. To solve this, we had to create a new place for the strings to travel.
A deck of cards also pulls the paper clip off a string so the rocket can slide down. There were many problems on how to connect the string to the track that the ball was on. We tried paper straws but it was not sturdy enough. Finally, we had an idea to use old teeth from a rake. That finally worked and the rocket slid down and hit a weighted cup. The cup pulled on the strings connected to Pangea. It was hard to make Pangea work. We had to tie strings to each of the continents to make sure they would move smoothly across the wire tracks that we made. Once all of the continents had string through them, we tied the strings together so that when we pulled the knot, all the continents moved at the same time. The cup that pulled on Pangea's strings also pulled on another string that moved a stopper from in front of a marble. We used a hammer to compress the styrofoam to the shape we wanted. The marble kept rolling out of the track. We had to make the rim higher and curved. After many trials, we got the perfect shape. We decided that the track had to be on an angle. The track guided the marble toward the top of the first dial and knocked it over which knocked down the other dials. The dials hit the golf ball well. The golf ball, hit in the precise spot, was pushed into forward motion. The domino walls guided the golf ball on a course toward Mercury. We had to use clay to smooth the transition from one plank to another. The golf ball did not always travel straight so we added some flexible dryer hose. Then, the moon (golf ball) rolled smoothly into Mercury which rolled down and hit the mouse trap. The mouse trap when triggered the button on the umbrella.
We learned how to use a drill to connect all of our wooden pieces. But we asked our teacher to help with the mouse trap to make sure it was done safely.
Our Step List
1. Put energy into the machine by pulling back the ball that is Pluto.
2. Pluto hits a tube which causes a marble to roll down the tube.
3. The marble falls into a paper cup which causes Neptune to spin. The pins on Neptune's trident pops a balloon.
4. When the balloon pops, the tube leaning on it goes down and pulls a paper from under the first deck of cards.
5. The decks of cards hit each other as they go up the steps under Uranus.
6. The last two decks of cards fall off of the steps. The two decks cause two reactions.
7. One deck of cards pulls the string on Saturn which spins it around to show Jupiter.
8. At the same time, the second deck of cards pulls a paper clip off of a string.
9. When the paper clip pulls off, the rocket ship slides down the string and hits Mars.
10. Mars rolls down the ramp and hits a cup with weights in it. The cup falls off of the edge of the chair.
11. When the cup falls, it causes two actions. First, the cup pulls down on the strings that spread out Pangea on the Earth.
12. The falling cup also pulls the stopper from in front of the large marble.
13. The large marble rolls down a styrofoam ramp and hits the first dial.
14. The three dials knock each other down and the last one hits the golf ball, the Moon.
15. The moon rolls under Venus and down a ramp where it hits Mercury.
16. Mercury rolls down and hits the trigger on the mouse trap.
17. Then, the mouse trap goes off and hits the button on the umbrella.
18. The umbrella opens which represents a black hole in space.
Our Close-ups: Photos
Our Close-ups: Favorite Step
Our Close-ups: Task Completion
Our Machine Explaination and Walkthrough
Our Machine Run Videos