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Dates to remember:

Dec. 6-7: Dakota Cattle Conference, Minot

Dec. 8: North Dakota 4-H Shooting Sports instructor meeting, Steele

Dec. 14: Soil Conservation District board meeting, 9:30 a.m., USDA Building, Mandan

Jan. 2: My First Business: Babysitting, Morton County Courthouse

Jan. 8: 4-H Archery workouts begin, Nishu Bowman, Bismarck

Science Engineering, Technology and Mathematics play a crucial role in today’s society. In 4-H, young people are nearly two times more likely to participate in science, engineering and computer technology programs during out-of-school time, according to a study done by Tuft’s University.

Rube Goldberg (1883-1970) was a Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist who was best known for his cartoons of complicated machines doing simple tasks. Some of  Goldberg’s fans took his cartoons and recreated the machines using junk they had around the house. These machines are called Rube Goldberg (RG) machines and are now part of nationwide contests.

North Dakota is following Minnesota’s example and organizing a Rube Goldberg contest for the 2018 state fair. The Rube Goldberg challenge has youth not only employ physics and engineering, but humor and storytelling, to create their RG. the contest also involves a journal where teams write about what they did each time they met to work on the machine. One of the best things about RG machines is that materials can be any junk you find around town or in your house so the activity is very low cost.

A Rube Goldberg team must have at least three youth team members, but no more than 10. Each team must have at least two adult volunteer leaders. 4-H members in high school or above cannot be team members, but they can work with the team as a youth mentor.

There will be a junior and a senior division contest.

Any team can sign up to compete at the 2018 State Fair; teams do not have to win a county contest.

If you are interested in learning more about Rube Goldberg and his complicated machines and how you can become an engineer of a complicated machine, contact the NDSU Extension Service Morton County at 701-667-3340.

Karla Meikle is the Morton County Extension agent for 4-H Youth Development.