Cotter 7th grade crew 4th in Rube Goldberg engineering competition


Eric Paulsen

Cotter 7th grade students Jack Slaggie, Will Peterson, Jaxson Greshik, Jacob Moore, Carter Knuesel, Reece Pronschinske, and Zephyr Paulsen display their plaque at the State competition

The Cotter Rube Goldberg team has taken fourth place in the state championship. This followed a 3rd place finish at the regional competition which qualified the group for the State level event which was held at Minnesota State in Mankato in late April.

The fifth annual Engineering Machine Design Contest Championship (EMDC) Championship was hosted by the Minnesota State Engineering Center of Excellence, and split into Junior Division teams (5th-8th grade) and Senior Division teams (9th-12th grade). This year’s contest theme was “Power the World” and the purpose of the competition is to inspire young students and perhaps have them consider careers in engineering or related fields.

Judges inspect the Cotter entry and ask questions of the young engineers at the State competition (Eric Paulsen)

The team’s adviser is Cotter science teacher Eric Paulsen.  The team consisted of Jack Slaggie, Jaxson Greshik, Will Peterson, Zephyr Paulsen, Carter Knuesel, Jacob Moore, and Reece Pronschinske.

The team constructed a Rube Goldberg device which comes up with an overly complicated design to perform a simple function. Mr. Paulsen said the crew spent three times as much time at the State level competition presenting and running the machine as they had to at the regional competition.

“That’s pretty good for a first year team of seventh graders,”  Mr. Paulsen said. “It was incredible. I’m just kinda speaking from the heart… it was one of the coolest things I’ve ever participated in with students.”

Cotter competed against 15 other finalists in the Tristate area (Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota), beating twelve other teams and winning the Curb Appeal Award for the second time, the award for the machine with the “coolest look.”

“I think that the decoration stands out the most and the different techniques that we used. The competition was fun because of all the different things that were available to us as competitors,”  said team member Will Peterson. “I would most definitely do this again it was so much fun and it was a great experience.”

“I would say our machine theme really contrasted with others. The goal was to ‘Power the World.’ Most teams took this literally and made a globe spin. We instead built a timeline of humanities power sources,” said Jacob Moore, a member of the team. “The State Competition was a lot of fun and it was an honor to be there. We had a lot of back-up items that we brought for our machine. Our most essential item was the “Box o’ Fun” that held the chemicals we needed for our machine… I think it shows how much we can achieve if you have a group of people that can work as a team. Yes, I think most of us on the team would definitely want to do this again.”

“It was, in a word, excellent. They were just incredible,” Paulsen said.