MSU EcoCAR 3 Visits with Boys & Girls Club of Starkville

The Mississippi State University EcoCAR 3 team recently visited with the students of the Nano Club at the Boys & Girls Club of Starkville. The MSU EcoCAR 3 team challenged the students to find alternative methods of propelling a toy car through the construction of a Rube Goldberg Machine.

What is Nano Club?

Nano Club is an outreach program at the Boys & Girls Club of Starkville that exposes minority youth in grades six MSU_MSU_EcoCAR_3_Visits_with_Boys_&_Girls_Club_of_Starkville_Image1[1]through nine to careers related to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Founded in 2011 by Dr. Tonya Stone of the Mississippi State University Department of Mechanical Engineering, Nano Club is helping ignite students’ interests in STEM related career opportunities.

What is a Rube Goldberg machine?

A Rube Goldberg machine is an apparatus that is purposefully over-engineered to perform a simple task in an unnecessarily complicated manner.

The Activity:

The Nano Club students were split into four separate teams. The teams were then given a kit of miscellaneous MSU_MSU_EcoCAR_3_Visits_with_Boys_&_Girls_Club_of_Starkville_Image2[1]office supplies, recycled materials, and a 30 minute window of time to create their Rube Goldberg machine. The goal was to propel a toy car across the “finish line” through the use of the Rube Goldberg machine. The team that successfully propelled their toy car across the finish line with the most steps in the process was declared the winner. Teams had to implement at least three steps in their machine and were only allowed one human interaction or touch to initiate the machine’s process.

Similar to the MSU EcoCAR 3 team, students at Nano Club developed uniqueMSU_MSU_EcoCAR_3_Visits_with_Boys_&_Girls_Club_of_Starkville_Image3[1] methods of propelling their vehicles. The students of Nano Club did an outstanding job constructing their Rube Goldberg machines. Students were free to be as creative as they wished and implemented some unique design concepts.

By partnering with Nano Club at the Boys & Girls of Starkville, the MSU EcoCAR 3 team is helping expose minority youth to the various career opportunities in STEM fields. The MSU EcoCAR 3 team hopes to partner with Nano Club again in the future and continue to impact the youth of the Starkville community. We hope to one day see these students working on teams in future Advanced Vehicular Technology Competitions.MSU_MSU_EcoCAR_3_Visits_with_Boys_&_Girls_Club_of_Starkville_Image4[1]