Massachusetts Institute of Technology / MIT Museum
Building N51 265 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02139
Open Daily 10am – 5pm / Closed Major Holidays
The MIT Museum is open today, Sunday, April 21. Cambridge Science Festival events will proceed as listed here.
About the Rube Goldberg Contest
Through the Science and Mathematics Departments at Fay School, students interested in chances to apply their studies have found ready opportunities in problem-solving projects designed by their teachers. Whether designing and building a scale model of the ideal house, creating a mouse-trap-powered contraption designed to extinguish a lit candle, or constructing a package that will allow an egg to survive a 75 foot drop, the enthusiasm and joy with which Fay students have approached these challenges have inspired school leaders to develop the Rube Goldberg Machine Contest.
The best-known Rube Goldberg Machine Contest is the national event held annually by Theta Tau at Purdue University. The Argonne Rube Goldberg Machine Contest for High Schools is affiliated with Theta Tau's national contest. The Fay School Rube Goldberg Machine Contest is affiliated with MIT.
By joining forces with MIT, and with the sponsorship of GE and EMC², Fay School will provide an opportunity for students in grades 7-9 to compete against other students from other middle schools in the only national competition of its type for students of this age. Such a contest will afford students interested in careers in engineering an opportunity to apply and synthesize their thoughts in a complex and inherently interesting problem solving environment. Such higher order thinking is at the core of what it means to be an educated person, and this contest will provide a showcase for the brightest thinkers among middle school students from the Boston area and potentially from around the country.
The Rube Goldberg Machine Contest is named after cartoonist Reuben Lucius Goldberg, the spirit of whose work inspires the contest's weird and engineeringly challenging machines and crazy contraptions. For more than 50 years, Goldberg's cartoons poked fun at machines and gadgets which he saw as overly complex. His inventions became so well known that dictionaries added "rube goldberg" to its listing, defining it as "accomplishing by extremely complex, roundabout means what seemingly could be done simply" (The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition).
Goldberg’s "inventions," drawn for our pleasure, will work. By inventing excessively complex ways to accomplish simple tasks, he entertained us as he made fun of machines that seemed to be designed to make our lives easier. Goldberg himself claimed that the machines were a "symbol of man's capacity for exerting maximum effort to achieve minimal results." He believed that most people preferred doing things the hard way instead of using simpler solutions.
Jon Markowitz Bijur
Are you considering visiting MIT Museum before bringing a group? Show your Massachusetts State Teacher's Association card for free admission!