(#53 – Bonus!) Rube Goldberg Machines with Maker Guilds (March 5, 2015)

Saturday, May 2nd, 2015

One of the things I found really helpful in 52 half marathons project was doing a bonus 53rd race at the end.

(I mean, technically it was ridiculous, and my body was so tired. And I sort of hurt my back a bit. So, I’m not sure it was the smartest thing ever. However…)

What I liked about it was that looking back, I think it would’ve been sort of easy to say, “Project done. So tired. The end. Get out of my face, running.” But I think by then doing another race that wasn’t totally part of the project, it helped propel me forward into keeping the habit of running going.

(After all, isn’t that kind of the point of the project? To strengthen something about my life that I wanted to work on? (Not to just do something then abandon it.))

So, I felt I needed to do the same thing with the volunteer activities. I found a listing to help this place called The Maker Guilds (part of a place called The Exploratory). The goal is to provide STEAM (Science, Tech, Engineering, Art & Math) to under-served communities.

Maker Guilds was holding an event at a library in Hollywood where kids would learn about Rube Goldberg machines. Only one child showed up and there were three of us there to help. So, the teacher asked if I wanted to try my hand at one. Do I?!

So, basically, this wasn’t so much of a volunteer event as just playtime for me – fun (albeit stressful) playtime.

First, when I was given the contraption, I was told the lever needed to move to hit the cart to make the cart go down the ramp. My first instinct was to have something going across that would make the downside of the lever jump up instead of having something from press from above to make the other side of the lever go down. (Does that make sense?)

Apparently most people start with figuring out a way to get the level to go down, not up. So, when I started with my way, one of the main volunteers there said, “Wow, we’ve got a genius with us today!”

Okay, well that is a lot of pressure!

I used what I was seeing another volunteer do as inspiration to help me better understand the thought process behind certain things. Eventually, I did get mine to work. Then I built back to make it slightly more complicated. Then I got it to work… one time. I tried to duplicate it, but there was never quite enough force to do it again. At that point, the activity was almost over. So I couldn’t go back to the drawing board to try anything new.

It was a bummer not to be able to re-create it (with the new beginning), but since I could do it with extra steps (but not so many extra), and since I was able to do the more complicated way at least once, I’m just gonna call it a win. Is that cool; can I have that?

Then I helped carry the supplies out to a car (the one really volunteer-y thing I did. And that was number 53! We’re done, baby.

Soon up – a conclusion post about the 52 volunteer activities.

I'd love to hear from you! So whaddya say?