Press contact: Kyla Kruse
SPRINGFIELD — “Outlandish machines” designed by area fifth graders will be on display as Lincoln Land Community College hosts the 16th annual Springfield Area Fifth Grade Rube Goldberg Competition on Saturday, Feb. 25. The event will take place from 9 a.m. to approximately 3 p.m. in the student union in the lower level of Menard Hall on the LLCC-Springfield campus, 5250 Shepherd Road. There is no admission fee, and the public is invited to attend.
This year’s competition involves building a Rube Goldberg that must “move a rocket to a launch pad” through at least 10 different steps.
A Rube Goldberg device, such as the board game “Mousetrap,” is an elaborate apparatus 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, coordinated by the area Engineer in the Classroom Board. The engineer volunteers visit classes and provide instruction on machines and engineering in general, along with suggestions for their Rube Goldberg device.
The purpose of this event is to introduce children to the idea of pursuing a career in engineering or related field. It is the only Rube Goldberg program in the nation specifically aimed at elementary age school children.
This year, 11 teams are participating from Dubois Elementary, Graham Elementary, Our Savior Lutheran, Rochester Intermediate, Springfield Christian and Beckemeyer Elementary School in Hillsboro.
Last year’s task entailed building a Rube Goldberg that would “flip a pancake.” Kimberly Tribler’s fifth grade class from Dubois Elementary School, with engineer volunteer Terry Fountain from Cummins Engineering, took home the top prize and advanced to the Engineering Open House at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign where they earned first place.