Ask Paige: Tips to Rock Rube Goldberg in 2019


Photo courtesy of Paige Kuhn

It’s February, and Kettle Moraine School for Arts and Performance (KM Perform)’s second annual Rube Goldberg contest is right around the corner! It may sound hard, but building a complex machine designed to do a simple task can actually be quite fun. Once you get all of your parts working, it’s really satisfying to see everything work in tandem as it accomplishes your task. Not to mention, you get to meet and collaborate with new people, which can help you make a few new friends.

Once the members of your team are revealed, don’t be disappointed if you don’t know anyone; last year, I knew almost no one on my team, including the teachers. However, the nature of the competition forces you to branch out and talk to new people. This can strengthen our school’s sense of community and help foster new friendships. Also, getting to know the people in your group can help your team communicate more effectively. This is very important, considering you’ll be with them all day, every day, with the exception of Legacy classes and a studio block.

Think you can’t get credit during Rube Goldberg? Think again! KM Perform’s interdisciplinary learning style allows you to demonstrate proficiency in both knowledge and performance core competencies by using the design process and completing mini-challenges. For example, when you designate group roles (such as Lead Builder and Supply Manager), summarize the requirements for each position, and follow through with your respective tasks, you are eligible to earn either Leadership or Career Studies credit. In addition, if your final project is of high quality, it can qualify for Applied Interdisciplinary Arts credit. Last year, the mini-challenges often revolved around one specific competency, such as a US History & Government topic that required in-depth research and an engaging presentation. Keep in mind that completing the mini-challenges can also earn your team points.

This year, the Rube Goldberg contest will run longer than two weeks, giving teams more time to bond and create better functioning machines. Also, there are a few KM Perform students that were selected to be on a Rube Goldberg planning committee to help the teachers smooth out any bumps we may have run into last year. So, this year’s event is sure to be even better. Buckle up, because the contest is about to begin!