“Outlandish machines” designed by area fifth graders will be on display as Lincoln Land Community College hosts the 10th annual Springfield Area Rube Goldberg Competition on Saturday, Feb. 27. A Rube Goldberg device, such as the board game “Mousetrap,” is designed to complete a certain task through a number of complex steps.
The event takes place from 9 a.m. to approximately 3 p.m. in the Student Union on the lower level of Menard Hall. There is no admission fee, and the public is invited to attend the competition.
This year, 13 classrooms are participating from Dubois Elementary, Fairview Elementary, Our Savior Lutheran, Owen Marsh Elementary, Rochester Intermediate, Springfield Christian and Trinity Lutheran – Springfield. Participating students are currently developing their own unique Rube Goldberg devices that will unload an object from a vessel or container and return it to the same vessel or container. They are assisted by nearly 30 engineer volunteers, many of whom spend more than 40 hours from mid-December through February visiting classrooms, helping students develop their machines and teaching about engineering in general.
Last year’s task entailed building a Rube Goldberg that would fold a piece of paper and resulted in a two-way tie between classes from Owen Marsh and Rochester.
Bill Bade, dean of math and sciences at LLCC, says 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 school students.