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The Amazing Spaghetti Machine Competition has been an incredible experience for two teams of Ivanhoe Girls' students; their knowledge and skills in maths, science, engineering and project management were recently put to the test for the creation of a 'spaghetti machine'!

In 2023 the Amazing Spaghetti Machine Contest got a makeover! In collaboration with the Telstra Creator Space (TCS), The University of Melbourne relaunched the contest to host an immersive experience for participants. Teams of four to six students spent a full day at the TCS Fabrication Lab where they had the opportunity to design and build their machines. 

Using repurposed materials provided by The University of Melbourne, students were required to use circular economy principles to create a complex machine that performs a single task. A few weeks later on 3 August, teams returned to campus for competition day where their machines were put to the test. In the spirit of circular economy, the theme for this year was “It all ends where it started”.

The speech below was delivered by Ranudi, Year 10, as part of their Presentation:

Amazing Spaghetti Machine Presentation Speech

When the Amazing Spaghetti Machine Competition was first introduced to us in the middle of physics, we had no idea what it was. After a few rapid Google searches and endless YouTube videos on Rube Goldberg machines we finally understood what the hype was all about, this competition had now grabbed our minds.

Suddenly the concepts we had learnt in physics like constant motion, velocity, acceleration and transfers of energy could be put into creative use, our minds were racing - how could we as high school students embody the definition of circular economy and how would we reach that goal? Would it be through endless Zoom meetings over the holidays, brainstorming various concepts of “ending where it started”, precisely planning every energy transition and carefully sculpturing a unique masterpiece? 

But on the build day once we walked into the room with our concept drawings gripped tight in our hands, we laid our eyes on the frame that we had to build our machine on, it was completely different to what we had planned. We then realised that we needed to adapt our plan to suit the current frame, it was a challenge because every energy transition that we had planned would need to happen at a different level and be executed in different methods, but it was a challenge that we were motivated to overcome. We knew that it would have some setbacks on the more creative elements in our machine, however, we were determined to preserve our best pieces.

As a team, we wanted to stand out from the crowd and that would explain our reasoning for most of the elements in our machine, the principle of circular economy is related to renewable and natural systems and we thought that this step in the future of technology would be daring and would be risky, but that is a risk that we must take in order to move forward much like our design. 

Throughout the building process our team had a plan, we designated roles for who would be responsible for each section making sure to alternate and ask for help when needed. We had constant check-ins to reevaluate what was working and what wasn’t. These check-ins helped us a great deal throughout the competition as we were able to constantly have each other’s backs and also elevate our own design. Kudos to our helper Yen who got us through some very sticky situations and numerous lost marbles. 

Lastly, how does our experience and the machine we created reflect upon circular economy principles?  Our machine parts have been sourced carefully with recyclable or renewable materials but that’s not it, the complexity of our design is a reflection of how multiple energy transfers can originate from one single point and continue on their own pathways before meeting and converging together again. It is a representation of how we can be conservative with our energy in real life, energy doesn’t have to come from multiple sources if we use circular economy principles instead it can come from one point and split but join together again to continue the cycle of sustainable development. We hope that our single point is enough to capture you.

We had two teams that were entered into the competition this year for the Amazing Spaghetti Machine Competition and both teams won a prize! 

Congratulations to:

Technical Excellence Award
Brianna, Fiona, Gabriella and 

Overall Competition – Spaghetti Champions
Connie, Hannah, Ranudi, Victoria and 

An excellent achievement by our students!

Mr Adam Boylett
Head of Science