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PMSA Students Shine in Regional Design Competition

If you can dream it, you can build it. That is what Proviso Mathematics and Science Academy students worked to prove at this year’s Regional Rube Goldberg High School Design Contest, where they competed against over 30 high school engineering teams across the mid-west.

On March 11, five PMSA seniors from Mr. Bonecutter’s engineering & design class took a field trip to the University of Illinois - Champaign/Urbana to compete in the regional contest as a part of the University’s 2011 Engineering Open House. The students worked with their classmates to build a Rube Goldberg Machine that uses 20 steps to complete the ultimate task of watering a plant. The team imagined, designed, and engineered the entire project to be presented at the competition.

“The goal of our participation was for the class to work together in teams to design and build a device according to strict specifications and with a set deadline,” said Mr. Bonecutter. “Their machine performed admirably, and the class considered their Rube Goldberg effort a great success.”

Students say they really enjoyed the challenges of the design competition, but their greatest reward was the display of teamwork and a lesson in perseverance.

“We all learned to work together and persevere,” said PMSA senior Donovan Vance. “There were plenty of times where we ran into problems, but we worked through it. We all came together. We persevered. We put a lot of work into this project with the little time and resources we had, and it turned out well.”

PMSA senior Victoria Pride agreed. She added, “We were proud of our project.”

“Everyone came together,” said PMSA senior Lea Randolph. “We don’t have a big senior class. This project really helped us form friendships. It brought us all closer together. We didn’t fold under pressure, and we were able to get everything done just in time.”

Overall, the High School Design Contest was created to help students get exposure to engineering principles such as design, testing, and redesigning. It also helps students strengthen their teamwork and communication skills. PMSA’s engineering class of 32 built a machine that wowed the crowd, while also building a solid team of “up and coming” engineers. Bonecutter said the competing students received many compliments from judges and other teams on their design.

The engineering and design students are now in the process of making a video of the machine in action to be posted on the school website.

Congratulations Pythons! You are a vital part of Proviso Rising!

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