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Cortez eighth-graders create Rube Goldberg machines

CMS students build over-engineered machines inspired by Rube Goldberg

The library at Cortez Middle School was filled with superfluous machines on Wednesday.

Eighth-graders created machines that accomplished a simple task in a complicated way to wrap up their 12-week science unit on energy and forces. The machines were inspired by Rube Goldberg, a cartoonist famous for depicting convoluted machines in his drawings. They were on display at the middle school’s physics exhibition this week.

Though Rube Goldberg machines might be unnecessary, CMS science teacher Brittany Lang said they demonstrate the physical forces students have learned about for the past semester.

“They’re extremely creative and collaborative,” Lang said.

In the machine that Gabriel Padilla, Kael Buffington and Gavin Bennett created, a tennis ball knocked over a glass of milk, dumping it into a bowl of cereal. The machine also released a spoon into the bowl of cereal.

Kael came up with the idea because he sometimes doesn’t have time to eat breakfast in the morning, he said.

“It took us about a week to build it, but we spent some time perfecting it,” he said.

In Kylie Lake’s and Amber Fuller’s contraption, a pencil hanging from a straw was released when a flame melted the straw. The pencil dropped down and popped a balloon that was filled with paint. They took a day or two to come up with the idea, and it took them about four days to build, Kylie said.

CMS principal Glenn Smith said it was the first time the school had put on an exhibition like this one.

“The kids are excited about it,” he said.

Science teacher Sara Margoles said it was a good way to bring the science unit to a close.

“It’s a fun, hands-on, messy way to show what they have learned,” she said.