CHATFIELD, Minn. (KTTC) – The Chatfield High School S.T.E.M. club earned some bragging rights just a few weekends ago. The team competed in the National Rube Goldberg Machine Contest in Lawrenceburg, Indiana and took home the national championship title.
This is the fourth time the club has gone to nationals and the second time they’ve taken home the big win. This year they brought home the top trophy with a project they call the “Physics Pharm.”
If you’ve never heard of a Rube Goldberg Machine, it’s like this:
“You have one task, but you make it as complicated as you possibly can,” Chatfield High School Senior Gage Tuohy said.
Like pouring a bowl of cereal, opening an umbrella or putting money in a piggy bank – which was the 2019 theme.
“It gives them an opportunity to be creative and use their imagination,” Chatfield High School Rube Goldberg Advisor Nora Gathje said. “Which doesn’t always seem to go hand in hand with hand, but its absolutely imperative with this project.”
These young engineers have been working since October to make the simple task of putting money in a piggy bank, into a complex one.
“In the last couple, two month, we’ve put in hundreds of hours just working on it,” Tuohy said. “Everything adds up. Combine everyone’s hours and its a lot of hours. Too many to count.”
Countless hours and 73 moving parts.
“My favorite part is the doors opening and the tractor with the pig comes out,” Tuohy added.
“Light switch gets hits and that’s what turns this fan on,” Chatfield High School Senior Carson Larrabee explained. “We liked the idea of having something other than actual object do the energy transfer.”
But taking home a national championship wasn’t a task one could do alone.
“Everything from the art, to finding puns online, to making the whole machine, everyone helped,” Tuohy said.
In the end, against 21 other high school teams, Chatfield came out on top.
“We were kind of in disbelief at first, it felt good,” Larrabee said. “Knowing that all the work we put into the machine paid off.”
“I think we were all shook,” Chatfield High School Junior Katie Ihrke said. “When they call our names, we were like, that’s us!”
Four of the talented senior plan to study engineering in college. For those who have more time at Chatfield High School, plans are already in the works for their next machine. Next year’s Rube Goldberg Machine Contest theme is putting out a light.
The team roster includes: Carson Larrabee, Jack Tuohy, Gage Tuohy, Nathan Goldsmith, Ann Warren, Katie Ihrke, Sabina Boettcher, Rylee Burnett and Hunter Johnson.