Girton Grammar and Mater Christi College bring home the glory in The Amazing Spaghetti Machine Contest

Mater Christi College
Mater Christi College

Fledgling inventors from around Victoria descended on Wilson Hall this week to show off their bizarre and brilliant contraptions as part of the Melbourne School of Engineering’s Amazing Spaghetti Machine Contest.

Similar to Rube Goldberg machines, Spaghetti Machines complete a simple task via a series of complex and entertaining steps, often making use of materials such as dominoes, marbles, toy cars, balloons and found objects. This year’s challenge was to build a “wake up machine” using a minimum of 10 steps.

The Amazing Spaghetti Machine Contest was launched in 2011 to celebrate 150 years of engineering education at the University of Melbourne

Year 10 students from schools around the state put together an astonishing showcase of creative and clever spaghetti machines, making use of ingredients as diverse as bicarbonate of soda, batteries, Jenga pieces and the music of 80s pop icons Wham!

There was drama at the finish line with the judges unable to separate the two top teams. In the end a tie was declared, with Girton Grammar and Mater Christi College taking out top honours for their highly creative and technically excellent machines.

For Mater Christi, 2014 was their debut entry in the contest. Team spokesperson Sarah Camm said the students were excited and amazed to have won.

“No words can express how much effort we’ve put in and how much time we’ve put in after school until 8pm and later, three nights a week for the past three weeks.”

Sarah said that the win was even more amazing given the team only had three weeks to complete the project, due to their supervising teacher being overseas.

“We’re all so relieved and so happy that we’ve achieved this result.”

The Mater Christi students built a toy shop themed machine, which was activated by a “sunrise” hitting a light sensitive diode.

“Everything we used in the machine was recyclable. We only bought a few things, the rest of it was sourced,” Sarah said.

She said the entire team learnt a great deal about teamwork thanks to the competition.

“With me having a science brain and others having creative brains it was great to see what we could put together at the end.”

Girton College
Girton Grammar

Girton Grammar students put together an entertaining and popular machine to wake their doll test subject “Jeff.” The Wallace and Gromit inspired machine was also a hit with crowds, with the team taking out the People’s Choice Award.

Girton student Karli Kulbars said that the Amazing Spaghetti Machine Contest was an important way to promote involvement in Science and Engineering at Girton.

“We want to create a big Science community at Girton because it’s one of our favourite things.”

The School has previously won the 2011 and 2012 contests, and Karli said they were excited to have brought the trophy home once again.

“From Year 7 we’ve known about the Spaghetti Machine and how cool it is to be a part of it. I joined Systems Engineering because I wanted to learn more about what happens with mechanics.”

Second and Third Place winners in the contest were Gippsland Grammar and Methodist Ladies’ College.

The Technical Award went to Emmanuel College and the Spirit of the Spaghetti encouragement prize went to Westbourne Grammar.

Students were posting Instagram images to the #spagmachine tag throughout the day as their machines started to take shape. See their photos here.