Wamogo Middle/High School
Litchfield, CT, USA

Online Contest:
Zip A Zipper
Online Division I - Ages 11 - 14 (Middle School)
Team Leader: Susan Brooks
Team Members: 15
Invitations: 0

What we're studying:
Physical Science, currently in STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) unit

Our Team Leader's favorite quote:
"But not Ferdinand!" and "Get that man some pants!" (referring to Benedict Mini-Batch doll) and "Someone please disarm ___________ (Julia/Riley/Tyler)!"

Why we think we should win:
By making our theme "Fandoms," we were able to each put our favorite things in our machine (even though they didn't all make it into the final run). We all worked very hard for eight days after school, and some of us put in an additional six hours on a Saturday to get the full run video.

Suggestion for next year's challenge:
Activate a "That was easy!" button; flush a toilet; use a stamp to imprint something; screw in a screw; take a lid off a box; open a can; open a door.

Favorite Rube Goldberg video:

Welcome to Fandom Frenzy! In case you didn't know, Wikipedia's definition of fandom is this: "Fandom (consisting of fan [fanatic] plus the suffix -dom, as in kingdom, freedom, etc.) is a term used to refer to a subculture composed of fans characterized by a feeling of sympathy and camaraderie with others who share a common interest." We built components that represented the following fandoms that are important to us: Disney, Anime, Periodic Table, video games, Dr. Who, reading, Pez, and Sherlock. Unfortunately, after more than 30 attempts at a full run, we had to reduce the size of the machine, sadly eliminating the first four fandoms. We hope you like our work - we had a ton of fun making this machine! Thank you for giving us this chance to innovate! Clayton, Eli, Jacob G, Jacob L, Julia, Kalea, Martine, Meg, Nathan, Omar, Riley, Rose, Steven, Tyler, Xavier, Mrs. P., Dr. B.

Our Step List

1. WHOVIANS FANDOM: A golf ball is rolled down a ramp painted to look like Dr. Who's tardis (time machine). NOTE: The background music is the theme music for "Dr. Who."
2. BOOKWORM FANDOM: Barricades of books and markers direct the ball so that it rolls into a stick holding up a cup with a tennis ball.
3. The cup falls, pulling a string attached to a piece of cardboard holding back a ping pong ball.
4. The ping pong ball rolls down a ramp made of our favorite books, then down a dowel ramp, directing it toward a precariously perched Tigger Pez dispenser (who sadly lost an ear during our trials).
5. PEZ FANDOM: Tigger falls into more Pez dispensers, creating a cool cascade.
6. The last Pez dispenser knocks off a tennis ball with a string attached to a piece of cardboard holding back another tennis ball on top of the closet.
7. That tennis ball falls and pulls a string to release a final tennis ball.
8. The final tennis ball bounces to the perfect height so it is directed into a funnel device, which directs it toward the final fandom.
9. SHERLOCK FANDOM: The tennis ball transfers its momentum to a heavy steel ball, which continues down the ramp and around a cardboard curve.
10. The steel ball knocks down four "Sher-blocks," which have words and pictures that are meaningful to Sherlock fans.
11. The last Sher-block knocks down "Benedict Mini-Batch" (a Ken doll with a hair-dye job, tape clothes, and an awesome felt Sherlock coat, to turn him into the spitting image of Benedict Cumberbatch, the star of "Sherlock").
12. Benedict Mini-Batch is weighted and tied to a string that goes over a fixed pulley at the ceiling.
13. The direction of the force applied by Benedict Mini-Batch's fall is reversed by the pulley, so the other end of the string pulls up the zipper on a coat worn by a Sherlock Holmes impersonator.

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