The 2007 Wisconsin Ribe Goldberg high school contest finals in Milwaukee

imageUpdated May 4, 2007     URL is

Rube Goldberg 2007 Wisconsin High School Contest finals, Milwaukee Art Museum

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 I wandered into that new Milwaukee Santiago Calatrava-designed art museum on Lake Michigan with my grandkids in late April, 2007, to find the following amazing groups of teens solving this problem:

 In at least 20 steps, with no hands-on at all, squeeze oranges, divert the juice to a pitcher, pour the juice into a cup and repeat, all within 9 minutes. (Yes, they could use their hands to reset the contraptions after the first run.) I took what photos I could.  The crowds were packed like sardines.

  Whomever I have omitted, you are champions too.  To the schools who could not raise enough money to send their teams, our hearts are with you.  You deserve travel money from somewhere.  (Most teams have to rent a truck to bring their exhibits.)

image Here is the Rube Goldberg team coach from Burlington, WI.  I couldn’t get any pictures of his award winning display, because of the crowds, but it had the greatest team spirit I saw, IMHO.  It had a baseball park theme, and up above, on this page, is Mr. Italian Sausage guy from Miller Park where there are 4 weiner-type people running amok during the baseball games.  (This Mr. Sausage-guy may have been a ringer, but who could tell?  This school sang the loudest and laughed the most, and would be my choice for a high school if I were not a grandma.

More Burlington team workers:
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********************************  Now for more schools and exhibits:

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imageSpring Valley




Brillon High School, saving us from scurvy!

image Reedsburg High School put G.I. Joe to work!

image  image Metropolitan Milwaukee High School

 image New Auburn did a tribute to Rube Goldberg this year with their functional juicer.  Note the boot, a standard in Rube Goldberg’s cartoons:

imageWhat better place to recruit budding engineers than this contest? 

Loyal High School had a rip-snortin’ George of the Jungle stage with a live band, shown here on the brink of total exhaustion.  George and company were real crowd pleasers.  Wonder if they won?

image George himself, after my failed red-eye removal editing effort.  Sorry about that. 

image Yes, this one is blurred, but I wanted to include it for the camaraderie.  It was a lot of work, to say the least, and at the end, some teams were left standing, and some were, um, as you can see next:


The 2006 contest rules: imageimage Here is the winner of the 2006 Rube Goldberg contest for the entire nation’s high schools, New Auburn High School. (Wisconsin, I presume.)
And here’s a fine kettle of fish from the official Rube Goldberg web site:
” Due to the overwhelming interest on the local and regional levels, the National High School competition has been cancelled this year in order to focus attention on these competitions.  We will resume the National High School competition in the 2007/2008 school year.”

Now that you have learned this much, please go to Google or   and find out more about Rube Goldberg, the 1948 Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist, who was a friend of an uncle in our family. with more links to Rube Goldberg sites

The official site explains the contest:

The Rube Goldberg Machine Contest (RGMC) brings the ideas of Pulitzer Prize-winning artist Rube Goldberg’s “invention” cartoons to life. This Olympics of Complexity is designed to pull students away from conventional problem-solving and push them into the endless chaos of imagination and intuitive thought. To be specific, groups are given an elementary challenge: something as simple as peeling an apple, sharpening a pencil, or putting toothpaste on a toothbrush. But instead of just “solving” the problem, students have to make the solution as complicated and as convoluted as possible. In fact, the more steps – there’s a minimum of twenty – the better the Rube Goldberg Machine. And what a machine! An assemblage of ordinary objects, mechanical gadgets, and the oddest odds and ends are linked together and somehow get to the desired goal.

Find out about Santiago Calatrava, the architect of this stunning Milwaukee Art Museum.

(Calatrava’s own site requires Flash and I don’t have Flash. The address is )

Then find out why  sports get all the high schools’ money and the future engineers get so little, in the cosmic scheme of things. 

This site is made by Sandra Weinhardt, email
 I welcome all notices of typos and of outdated information and oh-so-gentle advice.

I stumbled upon this contest and decided to share the pictures I took, in hopes that you will support the teens in your town who want to try this Rube Goldberg Machine Contest idea. Please! There may be another Calatrava out there, or another Rube Goldberg.

And, ahem,  my granddaughters and I hope to see more female entrants.