BRITT | A group of West Hancock High School seniors have put in hours and hours of work to pour a bowl of cereal.
The students, who are participating in Iowa's Rube Goldberg Contest on March 2 in St. Ansgar, are building an elaborate system that includes marbles, golf balls, plastic Hot Wheels loop tracks, a slanted peg board, dominoes and a miniature car to pour cold cereal into a bowl.
"We have been tweaking it for a month now," said team member Peyton Luse.
Luse and teammates Rigoberto Hernandez Jr., Austin Brouwer, Jacob Luedtke, Hunter Hagen, MaCoy Yeakel, Peyton Luse and Chase Eisenman got some extra time to work on their machine.
The contest, originally scheduled for Feb. 19, was postponed due to inclement weather.
The students from West Hancock and the other schools participating in the Rube Goldberg contest have to create more than 20 steps to accomplish the cereal-pouring task.
The most challenging part is "to create more steps," Yeakel said.
The contest is named after Rube Goldberg, who drew a series of cartoons showing complicated machines that perform simple tasks in indirect, convoluted ways.
This is the third year in a row St. Ansgar High School has hosted a Rube Goldberg contest, and the third year West Hancock has participated.
The competition is the only official Rube Goldberg contest in Iowa.
The advisers for the West Hancock team are Susan Carlson and Paul Francis.
Carlson, a math and physics teacher at West Hancock, said the contest teaches students engineering and problem-solving skills.
"It's a tremendous STEM opportunity for our students," she said.
Students use various energy concepts to make the machines work.
"We have solar energy involved with a light and a solar panel," Carlson said.
West Hancock students also are using a wheel pulley in their machine.
They began making design drawings in November and December.
In January and February the students worked on their machine during physics class. They even came in before school to do more work.
Sponsors for this year's team are Diemer Realty, State Farm Insurance agent Jay Hiscocks of Britt, The Cobbler Shoppe, and Kansas State University Engineering Department professor Steve Eckels.
"We couldn't do it without our sponsors," Carlson said. "We really appreciate the community support."