Building a Rube Goldberg Machine
Building a machine that uses a number of whimsical, counter-intuitive steps to accomplish a simple task might sound like a fun challenge, but it’s also the perfect way to learn physics and engineering. Each of the machine’s steps must be as efficient as possible and take into account various physics principles in order to make the entire creation work.
Participants in this camp will gain hands-on engineering experience by working in small groups to construct a Rube Goldberg machine:
- Classrooms and laboratories in Regents Hall of Natural and Mathematical Sciences
- Hands-on experience using tools to construct complicated machines
- Creative problem solving and teamwork with other girls interested in science
- A Rube Goldberg Machine Exhibition
- An astronomy outing on the campus natural lands
- Camp staff with experience in the national Rube Goldberg Machine Contest
- Meeting professionals working in the field
- Career exploration
- Tour state-of-the-art laboratories while research is being conducted
- Low camper to staff ratio
- Enriching social activities
Working with faculty who have supervised the team of students who won the national Rube Goldberg Machine Contests held annually at Purdue University, participants in this camp will learn principles and techniques utilized by engineers and scientists every day as they build their own machines. They will then demonstrate their completed machines to their peers, family, and friends on the last day of camp.
The camp is open to 40 girls entering grades 10, 11 and 12 (with priority given to upper class students) who find science challenging and fun.
Tuition includes housing in a college residence hall (linens, towels, and a pillow provided), meals from Sunday dinner through Friday lunch, class materials, and two camp t-shirts. Pentair Foundation is a leading water, fluid, and thermal management and equipment protection company with 30,000 employees globally. One of its Foundation focus areas is helping to build the next generation of engineers and innovators. A limited number of need-based airfare stipends are available. Contact the summer office (507-786-3031) for details.
Complete the online application by March 13. Notification of acceptance will be sent April 1.
Camp begins with check-in from 2–3 p.m. Sunday and concludes with a presentation Friday at 11 a.m., followed by lunch and room checkout by 2 p.m. Family and friends are encouraged to attend the presentation and accompany their camper to lunch. Lunch tickets for family members may be purchased at the door of Stav Hall.
Days are filled with brainstorming, individual and integrated building, and lab work. Evening activities include a movie night, bonfire, and an astronomy outing.
Housing and Dining
Campers are housed two to a room in comfortable, secure student resident halls. Counselors live in the residence halls and provide 24-hour supervision of campers and their activities. Bedding and a bath towel are provided. Sunday dinner through Friday lunch are included. The college cafeteria offers healthful choices including a salad bar, hot entrees, grilled meats, fresh fruits and vegetables, and desserts.
Do you like good food? So do we! Four schools across the country, St. Olaf being one of them, with food service operated by Bon Appétit Management Company were placed on the Princeton Review ‘Best College Food’ list this year. Campers will have the chance to taste the amazing creations and experience amazing service from our friends at Bon Appétit! Check out this article to learn more about their recent accomplishment!
Frequently Asked Questions
My child is one year too young for camp. Can she still register?
We maintain a wait list and if there are still openings prior to the start of camp we will fill positions with younger students. Contact the summer office (507-786-3031) to get your name on the list.
May I use a credit card to pay for camp other than online?
No. In order to meet regulations we can only take credit cards using our online form.