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Golden Machines Spark Students’ Ingenuity

Golden Machines Spark Students’ Ingenuity

Friday, April 05, 2013
Categories: Happenings @ TDSB

Recently, Agincourt Colligates Grade 11 physics students showcased their latest physics project—the creation of a Rube Goldberg machine. “The goal was to complete a really basic, menial task that would otherwise be easier completed without the intervention of a machine,” explains Kathryn DeNoble, a science teacher at Agincourt. “The students had to come up with a design based on what they learned in the energy unit and implement it into the machine.”  A Rube Goldberg machine is an overly complex contraption designed to complete a very simple task such as turning on the lights or changing the television channel. 

For the past few months, the students have been working diligently on their projects.  Students had to design and build their projects from simple household materials.  The projects were extensively tested and modified to ensure they were reliable. 

Two groups from each grade 11 physics class were chosen to display their machines in a school-wide contest. The machines were judged based on the number of energy transfers it had, its creativity and complexity, and of course, its ability to function properly.

Not only were students able to enhance their physics knowledge, they developed some important lessons on work habits as well. “Managing your time wisely and team work is really important,” says one of the students who participated in the event.

To future Rube Goldberg machine inventors, this year’s winners, Prem R. and Muhammad R., give a piece of golden advice: “Just persevere and keep going. Eventually, it’ll pay off.” Their winning machine was an electricity-themed contraption designed to turn on a set of LED lights. Other machines featured unique designs such as Hansel and Gretel, Gotham City, and the solar system.

Written by student reporter, Polly Zhang
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