The entire Valley Christian Junior High (VCJH) student body has spent the past month designing and building their very own Rube Goldberg Machine, one that they hope will launch them into history with a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title.
“These junior highers are building a very complex piece of machinery,” VCJH faculty Nancy Franklin says. “It’s incredibly difficult work, but the learning that’s going on is also incredible. To see these kids and the faculty coming together to get this done is inspirational.”
The current record title is held by Scandiweb from Riga, Latvia, whose 412-step Rube Goldberg Machine kicked off their Christmas tree lighting ceremony in 2016. For VCJH’s record-attempt, it’ll be all-hands on deck to complete their 450-step machine.
“Our entire student body is participating in the building process,” VCJH Principal Brian Clemons explains. “It was important for us to not only break the record, but also get all 687 students involved and excited about STEM.”
The event will take place April 25th, with the whole school cheering on the machine as it sets off a continuous chain of linked experiments that will eventually release balloons from the ceiling. With so many moving pieces, the students know they are facing an uphill battle, but it’s one they are excited to take on.
“Even though it’s hard, the challenge is what makes it fun,” eighth grader Nathan says. “I’m learning how to build and put together machines, and also teamwork and new ways of seeing things.”
An official GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS adjudicator will preside over the event to inform VCJH if they were successful in breaking the record, but Principal Clemons says they will celebrate either way.
“The GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title attempt is what’s important, and we hope it encourages other schools to try something similar. We’d love a little friendly competition,” Clemons laughs, “Ultimately, we want to send the message that engineering is for every student.”
Regardless of their success, VCJH knows it’ll be a day for the record books.