By Lookout Staff
October 30, 2013 -- The name Rube Goldberg has become synonymous with complex contraptions that perform easy tasks in imaginatively convoluted ways.
On November 9, the Santa Monica Pier will hold the Los Angeles region’s inaugural Rube Goldberg Contest, which challenges teams of students from middle school through college to build a gadget that zips a zipper in an elaborately hilarious way.
The contest is part of the first-ever S.T.E.A.M. event, a day-long celebration of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math “using art as the medium and fun as the common denominator,” said officials at Heal the Bay's Santa Monica Pier Aquarium, which is co-hosting the event.
“We value science education as a way to cultivate better environmental stewards,” said Heather Doyle, the aquarium’s director. “This event will be like nothing you've ever seen before on the Pier.”
The celebration will include “a kaleidoscope of innovative exhibitors,” including a “thrilling” physics lesson by Pacific Park that will make use of the amusement park’s roller coasters and its solar-powered Pacific Wheel, organizers said.
Time Warner Cable, which is co-hosting the event, will present paint by numbers on a grand scale; Trash for Teaching will stage a make-your-own recycling machine station and Two Bit Circus and Marbles the Brain Store will offer “games galore.”
The aquarium -- located at beach level just below the pier’s iconic carousel -- will offer an underwater ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) and a screening of the Whale Fall video, which uses paper puppetry to show what happens to a whale when it dies.
The event is funded in part by Time Warner Cable’s Connect a Million Minds (CAMM) initiative, a five-year, $100 million cash and in-kind commitment to address America’s declining proficiency in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
“We believe one of the most powerful ways to engage children in any kind of learning, especially STEM, is to make it fun, and that is why we are thrilled to support S.T.E.A.M Machines,” said Kim Latour, director of Community Investment for Time Warner Cable. “This event is very aligned with what we’re all about.”
Pier Administrator Jay Farrand called the event “a powerful platform for delivering STEM education in a really fun and novel way."
The event will take place at the Pier Saturday, November 9 from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.