Southeastern Career Center wins top awards
JCD hosts only high school contest in state

High school teams from across the state tested their engineering skills in this year’s 2014 High School Regional Rube Goldberg Machine Contest (RGMC) held on March 8 at Jac-Cen-Del Elementary School. Jac-Cen-Del is the only location in the state of Indiana to host a high school competition this year.

The contest, sponsored by Batesville Tool & Die and Ripley County EcO15, rewards machines that most effectively combine creativity with inefficiency and complexity to complete a given task. The 2014 challenge for both high school and college teams is to “zip a zipper.”

SCC Engineering Academy 1SUBMITTED PHOTO
The winning regional team in front of the “mini-camper” is from SCC, the Engineering Academy 1. They are from left, Austin Schutte, Cameron Horan, Matthew Boles, Taylor Johnson, Allen Hooton, and instructor Paul Thole. Not pictured are Mason Schwier, John Fullmer and Kendrack Vanderbur.


The contest’s namesake is the late cartoonist Rube Goldberg, who specialized in drawing whimsical machines with complex mechanisms to perform simple tasks.

One of the most insanely fun ways to learn about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) is building Rube Goldberg Machines! A Rube Goldberg Machine is an overly complex contraption with many chain reactions, designed with humor, to accomplish a simple task. Think of the classic board game “Mousetrap.”

Building great Rube Goldberg Machines requires engineering skill, attention to detail, intense precision, and tons of creativity. The RGMC is STEM friendly. Teams and their machines are judged on a range of criteria from complexity, machine flow, creativity, humor and storytelling along with the successful completion of the task at hand.

Ripley County EcO15 Project Manager, Cheryll Obendorf, explains, “The mission, with all levels of competition of the Rube Goldberg Machine Contests, is to encourage critical thinking and problem solving in a non-traditional learning environment and to have fun in the process!”

The high school version of the event enticed groups of students whose goal was to take a simple assignment and then to complicate it through innovative and outlandish non essential steps. This year’s assigned task? Zip a zipper. The students this year went above, beyond and way out of their way to ‘zip it up’ with a multitude of additional steps to complete the process.

The contest featured nine high school teams from across the state. The first place trophy was awarded by Batesville Tool & Die to The Engineering Academy 1 of Southeastern Career Center. Ripley County EcO15 sponsored the second place award, which was presented to The Engineering Academy 2, also of SCC, and Duke Energy presented the third place award to Madison High School.

The Engineering Academy at SCC offers higher level Project Lead the Way (PLTW) classes to these engineering-focused students.  The classes include computer integrated manufacturing, aerospace engineering, and engineering design and development.  Paul Thole teaches PLTW courses Introduction to Engineering Design, Principles of Engineering and Digital Electronics to students at Jac-Cen-Del in the morning and is the instructor at The Engineering Academy in the afternoons.  

The Peer Award, presented by the Ripley County Community Foundation, was given to Jennings County High School. Jennings County also won the awards for Risk, presented by Friendship State Bank; and Best Construction, presented by River Valley Financial Bank. Most Rube-like Machine was awarded by Purdue College of Technology to The Engineering Academy 2. Honda Manufacturing of Indiana presented the award for Best Use of Materials to Madison High School. Best Design was presented to Madison High School by Hill-Rom. The award for Best Presentation was presented by Margaret Mary Health to Madison High School and Jac-Cen-Del High School.

The winning team will move on to the national contest, National High School Rube Goldberg Machine Championship, to be held Saturday, April 5, at Waukesha Country Technical College in Pewaukee, Wisconsin.

Rube Goldberg earned a degree in engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1904. He worked as an engineer for the City of San Francisco for less than a year before becoming a sports cartoonist for the San Francisco Chronicle. He received a Pulitzer Prize in 1948 for his political cartoons published by the New York Sun.

Information for the article from Eco15 was also contributed by Sandy Day Howard



Pick up this week's edition of the Osgood Journal for the stories below and more local news. Subscribe by clicking the subscribe link or call 812-689-6364.

• Yard sale proceeds to benefit 'Angels'
• Congressman tours local plant
• Ivy Tech opens Fall registration