Whatever you want. Video by Mitch Budke
To challenge his Principles of Engineering class, science teacher Troy Johnson assigned the class to create a Rube Goldberg machine. The goal of such a machine is to complete a simple task, but with a twist. To complete the task, one must create complicated steps and tools. Together, the students created a machine with a goal to get mentos in a bottle full of coke.

“Our goal was to use all kinds of simple machines to eventually put mentos into a coke bottle and cause it to fizz,” junior Tag Groh said.

While the task to be completed was simple, getting the machine together was not. The machine took around three weeks to complete, with each student designing two parts of the machine, for a total of 12 parts. During the three weeks, the students had to work together to solve some of the obstacles.

Junior Tag Groh and senior Jake Sollner finish setting up the Rube Goldberg machine. Photo by Linda Drake

“At first we couldn’t knock the weight off the ramp with the hit wheel, then the balloon didn’t want to pop from the screws, and to top that off Johnson had accidentally knocked a mento into the coke, which postponed the final,” junior Micah Cauthers said.

Students of the class took initiative to create a low-cost machine. Freshman Andrew Tacy said they obtained wood from the bathrooms being built at the football field for their machine. Therefore, the only thing required to buy was a bottle of coke and some mentos.

“I went ahead and called Mr. Albers to ask him if we could use the scrap wood down at the new shed that is being built, and he said we could go ahead and use them,” Cauthers said.

Johnson thought the project was a success, despite a few test runs.

“It worked, it just took us a few trial and errors to get everything right,” Tacy said.

After a practice run, the machine was a success. The goal to get mentos into a coke bottle was achieved. Photo by Linda Drake

Senior Jake Sollner and juniors Tag Groh and Micah Cauthers watch as the machine runs. Photo by Linda Drake

Video by Mitchell Budke