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Feb. 27: Rube Goldberg Machine Contest

Public invited to see elaborate and hilarious chalkboard erasing machines designed by high school students.

Minnesota State University, Mankato Media Relations Office News Release, 2-13-2015

Mankato, Minn. – High school students from across Minnesota will compete to design the most elaborate and hilarious (but also functional) chalkboard erasing machine Friday, Feb. 27 at the annual Rube Goldberg Machine Contest at Minnesota State University, Mankato.

The Rube Goldberg Machine Contest will be from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Feb. 27 in the Centennial Student Union Ballroom. The public is invited to view the contraptions beginning at noon. There is no cost.

During the contest, 20 or more high school teams from across Minnesota will demonstrate machines that erase chalkboards in a minimum of 20 steps to a maximum of 75 steps. Teams and their machines are judged on a range of criteria from absurd complexity, reliability, team chemistry, creativity, humor and story-telling -- along with the successful achievement of the task at hand.

The event, sponsored by the Minnesota Center for Engineering & Manufacturing Excellence, lets high school students display their creativity, humor and ingenuity while learning about engineering.

Rube Goldberg (1883-1970) was an engineer, sculptor, author and Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist who depicted overly complex machines performing simple tasks. The machines that he drew often were impossible to build and operate, but were entertaining because they defied implementation.

Goldberg spent most of his career as a cartoonist for the New York Evening Mail, founding the National Cartoonist Society and winning a Pulitzer Prize.

The top two finishers of the Rube Goldberg event at Minnesota State Mankato are expected to have the opportunity to advance to the national competition at Waukesha County Technical College in Pewaukee, Wis., on Saturday, April 18.

For more information, contact Larane Wahlen, administrative assistant for the Minnesota Center for Engineering and Manufacturing Excellence (MNCME), by phone at 507-389-1201 or by email at

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Minnesota State Mankato, a comprehensive university with 15,376 students, is part of the Minnesota State Colleges & Universities system, which comprises 31 state institutions.

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