Last Wednesday, my group had our debate. Our topic was, should we be exploring underwater or in space. Nobody wanted to be on the underwater side so I volunteered with Kevin. We did a lot of research and came up with reasons and examples to support our claim. We also came up with counter to the other side’s reason and examples. I was very confident that we would do well. Finally, we were ready the for the final showdown, Kevin and Sam vs. Ally and Caitlyn! The debate was being videotaped. In the end everyone, including the other team, thought we won. We did a very good job. We were very clear and had better evidence. Ally and Caitlyn were a little bit too quiet.
When we were testing our Rube Goldberg we needed to make sure we placed each piece in the right spot. One problem area we had was when a Jenga piece needed to hit a marble off the table. Sometimes we would have the Jenga piece too close to the marble and then the Jenga piece would hit the top of the marble and the marble would not roll. First we switched the Jenga with a Magnatile because the Magnatile was heavier and wider. We had more room for error with the Magnatile. Each time we set it up, we would test to make sure the Magnatile was going to hit the right part of the marble. We marked it with a string. This made the problem area more consistent.
We had the same problem with domino and the Anki Overdrive battery-operated car. We could not get the domino to hit the right part of the car each time. We tested the placement of the domino and marked where it worked. This saved time in the set up because we knew where to put everything. To test the steps it takes more time, but in the end it saves you time.
When I was filming my Rube Goldberg with Eli, we had a ton of crazy fails. A lot of times we would get to the end and then something unexpected would happen. We also had different steps do crazy tricks. Sometimes we would get so close and then fail. It was really frustrating.
The first crazy fail we had was our best round yet at the beginning of our first day of testing. We got to the step where the wheel was supposed to spin from the train going down the track. The wheel didn’t spin. We had no clue what happened. The wheel had been successful every time we tested it so we did not know what happened in this actual attempt. Then I noticed the string was lying on the ground. The string was supposed to be attached to the wheel and the popsicle stick. I knew Eli and I didn’t move the string. I thought it might have been the work of my cat, but she wasn’t downstairs. Then I realized my sister, Leila, came downstairs earlier and tripped over something. I didn’t know what it was at first, but then I knew she was the one who accidentally ripped the string off the wheel. That was so disappointing.
We had two crazy fails where we got to the last step and then the rose went into the vase and just came back out. We had no idea why because it was working when we tested it. We tried many ways to fix it. We added a rose with a shorter stem and we tried a rose with a longer stem. It didn’t make a difference. Then we realized that the vase was too small for the rose to consistently go in so we got a taller one. The taller vase was too narrow. We also tried a wide, short vase and that was too short. We finally got a vase that was shaped so that the rose could lay on the sides of the vase and stay in place. This made it easier for the train to push the rose in. The vase was pretty tall and wide. We thought we solved all our problems with the rose going into the vase until we tested the next round. When we got to the final step again, Thomas the Train was pushing the rose and it just wouldn’t go in for five seconds. Thomas the Train did not have a lot of power. We were just waiting there in shock. Finally Thomas the Train somehow pushed the rose into the vase and drove over the rose into the vase. It worked out for us, but unfortunately our successful try caused Thomas to die a sad drowning death.
This video shows what was supposed to happen with the wheel.
I realized when I was testing my Rube Goldberg with Eli that you need to be very precise with where you place each object. We were not that focused on making sure each piece would work. If one step in your Rube Goldberg is off, the whole thing won’t work and then you have to reset every single step. It saves time when you have your steps lined up the right way. Most of our fails were because a domino didn’t hit our marble in the right place or the Magnatile blocking our train was too close to the edge of the track. When there was a fail, then we would have to set the whole contraption up again and it would waste a lot of time. When you are trying to get a success, you need each step to work so having one careless mistake makes you reset everything.
We also had to make sacrifices so that each step would work. For example, we had our Jenga pieces making too sharp of a turn and it was not working consistently. To make it more consistent, we made the turn not as sharp. At the beginning we were willing to take risk. As the Rube Goldberg started to fail more and more we knew we had to play it safe. That’s why our first success came when we had taken a ten minute break to charge the cars and go over each step. I also realize that little things can go wrong that you do not expect. For example, we thought the Anki overdrive car had only one problem and that is it wouldn’t get pushed onto the track. Then we realized sometimes when the Jenga piece hits it, it would drive off the track or it would slip off the track because of the water. A lot of these things could have made us frustrated, but instead we just tried our best to set each step up as well as we could. By the end, the steps were getting to be more consistent.
Finally a Success
It was our second testing day, attempt number 41. Eli’s dad just got to my house to pick up Eli and we were running out of time for the day. We had been charging Guardian (an Anki Overdrive battery-powered car). Everything was set up perfectly except Guardian. Since we had been charging Guardian, it had a bit too much power and we couldn’t keep it in the normal spot. Every time we put it down, it would just plow its way onto the track and we needed it to stay put. We put it further off the track so it would stop moving. I ran to get Eli’s phone before Guardian could go.
We started the video and Eli said, “Attempt 41” and turned on the shower. After five seconds, the pitcher swung in to the door which hit the video game pieces, which then hit the Jenga pieces and then the Jenga pieces barely hit the Anki overdrive car. At first the car didn’t move and Eli already started yelling, “Noooo!” I was ready to stop the video when the car started shaking and was about to get on the track. Boom! It got on! Yesssss! But NOOOO! It then spun off the track. We didn’t have time to stop the video before it came back on after doing a 360 degree turn. It somehow made it up our ramp and hit the next step, a pool ball. The ball bumped the button on the WoBoto remote which knocked down the Jenga pieces. Next a Magnatile hit the marble with a string attached to it. The marble pulled down the Magnatile that was in front of the train.
The train was now chugging on its way. We were so excited that I stopped focusing on the camera. Eli kept yelling, “What just happened? What just happened?” He was so excited that he said it around ten times. Next the train hit the Jenga pieces which knocked down the subway train. That caused the bike wheel to spin, which pulled out the first popiscle stick of a chain reaction. All the popsicle sticks went down. It was the best run we’d ever had! At the end of the popsicle stick chain, the heavy marble came down which pulled the string holding the Jenga piece that blocked Thomas the Train. The final stretch was when Thomas the Train pushed the rose into the vase. YYYYEEEEESSSS! We were jumping up and down, but then we watched the video and realized it was garbage! I had forgotten all about video taping and missed taping many of the steps. I was so disappointed. I think we might need to do it again!