Davison’s “What Will You Create?” Award goes to Inventive Team of Local Students for their “Chain Reaction Contraption” Winners and their classmates inspired by Inventionland


PITTSBURGH, PA. – January 31st, 2011 – Choosing the best “Rube Goldberg Machine” built by local high school students at the Chain Reaction Contraption Contest at Carnegie Science Center was not easy, but Pete M., Davison’s Vice President of Design, and a senior designer were up to the task. They chose the “Gator Vendomator” created by a team from Gateway High School to win the “What Will You Create?” award sponsored by Davison.

The contraption made change for a dollar bill in 22 steps using a series of levers.

“It was a really neat machine, with a lot of complicated mechanisms,” said Pete. “If they could automatically reset it, people would be putting dollars into it all day long.”

For winning the award, Luke, Brian, Mike and Jason, as well as their classmates in honors physics, were given a tour of Inventionland. Jim P., the gifted coordinator thought it was “a once in a lifetime experience” for his students, who “like to think outside the box,” to see how engineering and creativity go hand in hand.

“This is a perfect example of engineering and creativity coming together; I’ve always encouraged that.”

The teacher was hoping his students would be inspired by the visit to pursue their interests in the field of engineering and science; he also thought seeing that they don’t necessarily have to work in a dull office would encourage them.

“Students associate engineering with sitting in an office doing boring work; seeing a place that looks like this can alter their perception,” said the coordinator. “And having a place like this in Pittsburgh – it’s a treasure, and it’s appropriate because of Pittsburgh’s history of inventing.”

“I wanted to congratulate you guys on a wonderful project,” the VP told the team and their classmates as they reclined in the Inventionland theater. “There were some real nice mechanisms on there.”

Many of the students were equally impressed with Inventionland and the tour they received from a senior concept designer.

“It’s amazing; these workspaces — mini houses inside of houses. It kind of makes me want to work here,” said Deen.

“I’m surprised how realistic everything looks,” commented Joy.

“It’s very cool — just how much detail there is,” added Luke.

Several students in the class are interested in engineering and “a number of them are just extremely creative. They tend to attack a problem from a different level,” said Lynn M., gifted coordinator.

“When we opened up the tour many of them jumped at the chance to come. Having these opportunities out there in the work force, not just the standard engineering job, is inspiring for them — especially in Western Pennsylvania,” she continued. “To have it so close to home and to have the opportunity to see it is an inspiration for the kids to pursue something like this.”

Later this month, the educators will be taking their students to Engineering Week at a nearby Westinghouse facility. The team also will be competing in the East Allegheny Experimental Apparatus Organization.

Pete is looking forward to seeing more inventive creations and “chain reaction contraptions” at the next Carnegie Science Center competition — it’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it.

“It’s really neat to see the inventions of young people. There was a lot of competition this year,” the VP said. “Every year it gets better and better.”

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