“Outlandish machines” designed by area fifth graders will be on display as Lincoln Land Community College hosts the 11th annual Springfield Area Fifth Grade Rube Goldberg Competition Saturday, Feb. 25. The event takes place from 9 a.m. to approximately 3 p.m. in the Student Union of Menard Hall, LLCC-Springfield, 5250 Shepherd Road. There is no admission fee and the public is invited to attend the competition.
A Rube Goldberg device, such as the board game “Mousetrap,” is an outlandish machine designed to complete a certain task through a number of complex steps. Area fifth graders are currently developing their own unique Rube Goldberg devices for this year’s competition. They receive assistance from engineer volunteers who visit classrooms and provide instruction on machines and engineering in general, along with suggestions for their “secret” Rube Goldberg.
The purpose of this event is to introduce children to the idea of pursuing a career in engineering or a closely related field. It is the only Rube Goldberg program in the nation specifically aimed at elementary age school children.
This year, 14 classrooms are participating from the following schools: Dubois Elementary, Fairview Elementary, Graham Elementary, Our Savior Lutheran, Owen Marsh Elementary, Rochester Intermediate, Springfield Christian and Trinity Lutheran-Springfield.
Last year’s task entailed building a Rube Goldberg that would unload an object from a vessel or container and return it to the same vessel or container. Dan Hartman’s 5th grade class from Dubois Elementary with engineer volunteers Chris Groth and Jim Michael from Crawford, Murphy & Tilly, Inc. took home the top prize. This year’s competition involves building a Rube Goldberg that will “fill a cereal bowl.”