BRURIAH, A GIRLS yeshiva high school in Elizabeth, placed second in an international competition to build the most clever Rube Goldberg machine. The competition was hosted by the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, Israel.
Students from Bruriah competed for the first time this year. “I primed them for this to be a learning experience,” said science department chair, Dr. Bracha Erblich. “They were over the moon to have won.”
A Rube Goldberg machine is a contraption that is deliberately overengineered to perform a simple task by setting off a comical chain reaction. The theme of this year’s contest was Israel’s 70th anniversary.
The Bruriah team machine takes viewers through a GPS-guided tour of Israeli cities to learn about innovations created in the country. In one chain reaction, a Slinky takes the stairs (simulating the ReWalk device that enables those with physical disabilities to walk), which starts a pinball rolling through the body’s inner organs (the capsule endoscopy PillCam), bursts through a row of dominos that some steps later activate a SodaStream. (PillCam and ReWalk were invented by Technion alumni).
“After working hours, weeks and months to perfect our chain reaction, it was such a good feeling to not only have completed our Rube Goldberg machine, but to have placed in an international competition against veteran teams,” said junior Avigail Schiff. Their prize was a 3D-printer for the school.
Some 40 schools competed this year, almost double that of last year. Teams hailed from Australia, Nigeria, Czech Republic, Spain, Korea, South Africa, and South America. Katz Yeshiva High School of South Florida and Le Hong Phong High School in Vietnam tied for first place. School 239 in Russia and Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School in Maryland tied for third.