Minnetonka 5th graders place in international Rube Goldberg machine competition

- Students come to the International Spanish Language Academy to learn a foreign language.

But a recent international competition showed they're pretty good at science too.

On the last day of school, some fifth graders are still hard at work.

But they're not just tinkering with their computers.

They may be helping build a better future.

"At first, I didn't even know what it was. My mom told me and showed a few videos of last year's and I liked it. I decided I want to do it this year," said fifth grader Caitlin O'Connor.

Eight students worked together for three months to build a Rube Goldberg machine, an overly complicated contraption designed to perform a simple task.

This year's challenge was to apply a Band-Aid to something. The group designed a machine to do it in 26 steps.

"The hardest part of building is listening to each other. Connecting the steps," said fifth grader George Kannenberg.

"In the beginning, we thought dominos were really important, but actually they were the most annoying thing ever so we only had it in one little part," said O'Connor.

Not only did their contraption take second place in a Rube Goldberg competition against 61 other elementary school teams from seven countries, they worked on their project using both English and Spanish.

"If it was during the day, it was done in Spanish. If an outsider came in and spoke English, they did it in English. Really they did it both languages," said fifth grade teacher Adriana Maldonado.

Their interest in engineering and design may have won them a place in the competition, but the students say the bonds they built with each other are the real prize.

"I think it was important because before this, I didn't know a couple of people in the group. We got more connected because we had to work together every Wednesday. Teamwork is very important," said O'Connor.

The students won $1,000 dollars for their school.

Maldonado hopes to put it towards the Rube Goldberg competition next year.

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