STEM ECHS students build Goldberg machine for Whataburger

STEM Early College High School students recently teamed up with Whataburger to create a one-of-a-kind Rube Goldberg machine to announce the return of Whataburger’s latest limited time offer, the Buffalo Ranch Chicken Strip Sandwich.

When Whataburger first reached out to STEM ECHS with the idea six weeks ago, STEM ECHS Engineering Teacher Jillian Ozuna said the students were happy to take on the challenge.

“The kids were super excited when we first told them,” she said. “They learned about the Rube Goldberg machine in class, so it’s been very fun planning and putting it all together.”

Using concepts ranging from gravitational mass to momentum to kinetic energy, the 25-foot-long machine highlights several key moments in Whataburger’s history, including the year it was founded (1950), introduced breakfast (1982), added chicken items (1992) and released its mobile app (2016). Lastly, the return of the fan favorite menu item is unveiled.

Divided into five groups, the students worked on each time period using different robotics parts, VEX pieces, as well as Whataburger-branded items such as cups, table tents, to-go bags, and even a cape from the Whataguy mascot.

“We did some programming and a lot of building, everything from scratch,” Ozuna added. “Seeing them apply what we’ve taught them in the classroom was great, so it’s been a good real-world learning experience for them. They’re really proud of what they’ve done.”

Sophomore Angelique Almanza said working with her classmates was her favorite part.

“Getting to spend time with my friends, thinking of new ideas, and being creative has taught me so much,” Angelique said. “I’ve learned more about teamwork and trusting my teammates. After all the hard work, all the pain of hot glue and having mishaps, I’m happy that it’s finally finished.”

The one-minute video, featuring the Goldberg machine, was released on Whataburger’s social media pages on April 2 and already has more than 598 thousand views and counting!

“They’ve built an amazing machine, and it was so interesting to see their process. We’re really excited to reveal it,” Whataburger Social Experience Supervisor Megan Dahle said. “We are also providing a $1,000 grant to the school to help their programs and continue all the great work they do.”

Way to go Rattlers!

See the video here: 

       Whataburger's "Rube Goldberg" Machine

         Behind the Scenes- Goldberg Machine

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