Photo gallery: Rube Goldberg Project at Bonita High School
LA VERNE -- What exactly is a Rube Goldberg device?
"It's kind of hard to explain," Bonita High social studies teacher Bob Turner said, walking into the school's student union on Tuesday. "You kind of have to see it."
Inside, the school's accelerated freshman core - a group of more than 100 students with the best grades coming out of middle school - have set up a series of contraptions straight out of the cartoons of Rube Goldberg.
For 21 years, the school has had freshmen work on the
"We realized a few years ago the program was older than the kids," Turner said.
This year, the project has a Disney movie theme, with students comparing and contrasting the Disney treatment of famous stories with their original versions. Each of the 15 group's machines have to incorporate 10 scientific principles or machines and an 8-foot rise or drop.
One machine works like this:
The students open a book, which pulls a string, which pulls a rolling pin, which unwinds a toy snake, which falls down and pulls another string, which flips a light switch (which illuminates the lights on a tree and turns on the music) and pulls a branch, which swings down and hits a ball, which rolls down a gutter and then knocks over a vase full of water, which fills up another vase, which then leaks into a water cooler, where a sealed and empty two-liter bottle rises, moving a shovel that's set up as a lever, which unwinds a tether ball, which hits a series of books set up like dominoes, which activate a mouse trap, which pulls yet another string, which pulls another lever, which releases a medicine ball, which drops into a
That's just the first of 15 interconnected stages making up Bonita's High 2013 Rube Goldberg device project.
"They really have to apply what they learn in a tangible form," said English teacher Lauren Clark. In addition to the Rube Goldberg machines, students also create magazines on the source material and the project's construction. "They come into this, thinking they can never do it."
Freshmen Jordan Hoff and Caitlin Dillon worked on the device that starts the entire machine. Their team's device is based on the Jungle Book.
"That was my favorite movie," Caitlin said.
"I thought `what are the most iconic scenes in the movie?"' Jordan said.
Although Baloo survived intact, as well as the snake Kaa, other sequences had to be cut during the development process.
"Every year, we have kids come up with something we've never seen before," Turner said. "We have kids over there using a bedframe."
The four projects the students do over the course of the year also teach them how to work in a team environment and leadership.
"You just take the critical thinking along with you, the problem-solving, the delegation of tasks," said Grant Guillen, a 2009 graduate of Bonita High, now back on campus as a student teacher while studying at the University of LaVerne.
He pointed to a group of male athletes working on a Tarzan-themed device.
"That little cheerleader, she runs the show," he said. "You really do have leaders emerge."
beau.yarbrough@InlandNewspapers.com, 909-483-9376, @InlandEd