St. James students, Rachel Gorcyca, Adam Gorcyca, Madeline Meyer, Will Hartig and Shardey Stanford, took first place in an Engineering Competition at Luther North College Prep (LNCP) on Saturday, March 28. Competing against four other Lutheran school teams, the challenge was to create a Rube Goldberg machine that could erase a whiteboard or chalkboard.

The project began on February 23 when our team met with LNCP students via Google Hangouts to review the rubric and ask questions about the project. Over the next month, our team worked hard under the leadership of St. James middle school teacher, Becky Gorcyca, to complete the project.

Pulling inspiration from Snickers’ “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry” campaign and the scientific contributions of Einstein, Curie, Galileo, Franklin, Edison, Tesla, Da Vinci and Newton, the students came up with their award-winning “Ultimate Candy Machine.”


The Ultimate Candy Machine

(Description and Speech Written by Students)

Oh nooooo, Albert Einstein is in a crazy dress and chanting E=ABC. He’s definitely not feeling like himself. Do you know what he needs?


All of Einstein’s science friends rushed to get him a snickers bar, but it seemed too simple, so they decided they needed:


Candy was eaten, wrappers thrown apart and sugar-high production began.

Madame Curie thought radiation would help cook the snickers bar and began immediately. Unfortunately, the radiation makes her feel ill and she needs to press:


This causes Galileo to get to the highest point possible, which makes him feel instantly better. He always likes having his head in the stars. Unfortunately, this chaos causes Ben Franklin to trip and fly his kite downward where he accidentally hits the only marble left in Einstein’s brain.

His marble travels around Thomas Edison who is in hiding. Edison is afraid Tesla is still upset over the whole light bulb thing. Einstein’s marble hits a cylinder and runs into Da Vinci who is trying out his new paddle boat invention. The boat flies into a sea of aluminum that Tesla is experimenting on and causes electricity to fly into a motor and triggers it to knock over a blue cylinder. A weight falls pulling Newton up. He was testing gravity by throwing apples down a tube.

With Newton gone, marbles zip down to another one of Tesla’s experiments causing the Snickers bar to reach Einstein’s outreached tongue. His jibberish is erased, he is thinking clear, and E=MC².


Explanation of How it Works

Step 1  •  Push red button, completing circuit and starting motor with gear

Step 2  •  Gear pulls string that is glued to it

Step 3  •  String pulls Petri dish that Ben Franklin is standing on

Step 4  •  Ben Franklin falls and slides down zip line into cup

Step 5  •  Cup is hit and rotates downward, releasing marble

Step 6  •  Marble slides down cup-ramp, into green funnel, and down the black tube

Step 7  •  Marble exits tube and hits cup knocking it off of ledge

Step 8  •  The cup is attached to a paperclip by a string and the paperclip is flipped free and releases cylinder

Step 9  •  Cylinder rolls down and hits paddle boat

Step 10  •  Paddle boat hits aluminum completing circuit and starting motor with gear and stick

Step 11  •  Gear rotates with stick, hitting blue block over

Step 12  •  Without blue block holding it up, weight drops, lifting Newton

Step 13  •  Without Newton blocking them, Marbles roll down his and drop to foil, completing circuit

Step 14  •  Motor is started with fan attached and the Fan begins to spin

Step 15  •  The fan pulls on a string and the string pulls weight

Step 16  •  Tissue paper is under weight and snickers (they provide pressure), when weight moves the tissue erases board



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