School competition “Incredible Light Machine” – the winners!

By & . Published on 22 September 2015 in:
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In the school competition “Incredible Light Machine” [Die unglaubliche Licht-Maschine], kids from all over Germany were encouraged to submit videos of self-made “incredible machines”. The winner is the team “The Incredible Eight” from Luitpold-Gymnasium in Munich.

Bad Honnef / Cologne, 10 August 2015 – Sometimes it simply needs a little push to get things going. The German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the German Physical Society (DPG) have initiated a school competition in order to inspire teenagers for physics and technology in a hands-on fashion. In the school competition “Incredible Light Machine” (Die unglaubliche Licht-Maschine), kids from all over Germany were encouraged to submit videos of self-made “incredible machines”. The vast number of submitted movies and the creativity of the teams from 193 schools made it very difficult for the jury to name the winner. Finally, the team “The incredible Eight” from Luitpold-Gymnasium in Munich – six girls and two boys, who built a truly “incredible light machine” – came out on top.

Not an easy task

The scope was quite difficult: Among the constructions, also named „Rube-Goldberg-Machines“, items like dominoes, switches, teeter boards or other objects had to be arranged in such a way that they formed some kind of chain reaction. Then, a first impulse activates the “machine”. To avoid cheating, the video had to show the entire process of the chain reaction without a single cut. And, since the competition was proclaimed in occasion of the UN Year of Light, the topic “light” should matter.

The quality of the videos and the displayed chain reactions widely exceeded the organizers expectations: “We are quite delighted with so many submissions. Considering the sophisticated task, we didn’t expect that more than 800 pupils would participate in that project”, says Volker Kratzenberg-Annies, Management Representative for Young People (Vorstandsbeauftragter für Nachwuchsförderung). “The machines were often constructed and filmed for days. The technical quality and the physical effects of many contributions are remarkable. A big compliment also goes to all the teachers who splendidly motivated their school teams.”

“We are deeply impressed by the great response and creativity of all participants”, adds Arnulf Quadt, Member of the DPG Executive Board for Public Relations. “It’s nice to see how young people successfully work in self-organized teams, as it’s common in physics nowadays. We are particularly glad to realize, how many different relations to the phenomenon of light and optics have been created within the International Year of Light, it’s just amazing.”

Full of Ideas

The elaborate constructions of the “Incredible Machines” are using lots of conceivable objects from the household, school inventory or construction kit – and in one case even a big warehouse. Thereby, many teams surprised with utterly witty ideas: Sometime, countless schoolbooks – arranged like dominoes – are building a chain straight through the school building, another time a fuse is igniting sparklers to burn, who write the word “light” in the air. Beside technical capabilities and a skilful application of physical effects, the competition also required endurance and ambition: Again and again it had to be optimized, and sometimes the procedure just worked after the hundredth attempt. Likewise, the creativity of the pupils became apparent by the stories behind. Thus, the “Light-Machine” of the winning team is not just a succession of effects and procedures but telling a funny story at the same time which is dealing with a “Vampires-Defence-Construction”.

Incredible Light Machine – the winners!
Incredible Light Machine – the winners!

The winning team from Munich will be invited for the Day of Aerospace at the DLR in Cologne on September 20th 2015 and also for the “Highlights Show” of the DPG which is taking place on September 22nd 2015 in Jena. Moreover, all teams among the top ten obtain a big surprise package. The other teams will be receiving a little thank-you gift for their participation after the summer holidays.

The winning video:

The Making-of:

Nine further student teams made it to the Top Ten! They will soon receive a big surprise pack from the DPG and DLR. Here are their contributions:

“Project Pyro”
The team “Project Pyro” of Gottlieb-Daimler-School 1 in Sindelfingen lived up to their name: Via balls, solar cars and dominos, a candle set fire to a match cord. Via several further steps finally sparklers write the word “Licht” (light) into the air.

Team P 16
Can a metal sphere – pushed by another ball – fall from a table exactly onto a switch and hence start a model railway? Team P16′s movie from Gymnasium Weilheim proofs that it is possible and shows many other breathtaking feats! A brilliant movie!

One has to look twice, to believe what’s visible there. Large euro-pallets, also known from factory halls and warehouses, fall over like dominoes – and after this spectacular start the literal chain reaction just gets going. The pupils from the Eduard-Spranger-Gymnasium in Filderstadt have really come up with something.

Already the opening scene is Hollywood-style and could originate from a professional film. And also what happens afterwards is quite sophisticated. Terrific effects and big cinema made by three 15 years olds from the State Regelschule Friedrich Solle (Zeulenroda-Triebes/Thüringen).

Team „TKS naowyxl“
Oops? In the Theo-Koch-School Grünberg the “Incredible Machine” is running through several rooms. After a wild start, a many metres long strand (held by tripods) is triggering a switch – and “lo and behold”: Let there be Light!

Another team named “The Incredible 8”
The “Volcano” at the end apparently doesn’t spark off – but apart from that the “Incredible Machine” from the technique class of the Antoniuskolleg in Neunkirchen-Seelscheid is very considerable!

Two pupils from the Neues Gymnasium Oldenburg had quite a distinctive and witty idea: Their “Incredible Machine” tells an environmental story about “light and energy” – from a sunbeam above a drill tower, to a car and a rocket. Now and then, even the melting of the polar ice caps is symbolically shown. Everything in a matter of seconds – therefore, the film is additionally explained with some caption insertions.

Wile E. Coyote tribute Society
The classroom of the Realschule Blaustein obviously turned into a “creative workshop” for a couple of days. Terrific Incredible Machine!

The name of the team already implies: Six female pupils from the Eichendorff-Gymnasium Bamberg have thoroughly considered an “Incredible Machine”. These above mentioned pupils are 11 and 12 years old. Their film is lovely and well worth seeing!

All teams who took part, but not being under the top ten, will be also receiving a nice little surprise via mail soon.

There are just winners!
To get an idea how awesome other videos are (not being under the top ten), there are three examples here. These teams will be also receiving mail by DPG and DLR – because in this competition there are just winners!

Science AG
The team of the Schelztor-Gymnasium Esslingen has built its “Incredible Machine” through the school’s entire staircase! In some places there had to lend a helping hand – but nevertheless, the film is absolutely watchable!

Fortune in the darkness
Entirely crazy effects have been imagined by the team “Glück in der Dunkelheit” (Luck in the Gloom) from the Otto-von-Taube-Gymnasium Gauting. Just in one place the procedure got stuck – but apart from this it’s an enormous achievement.

Candy Company 42
Unfortunately, the machine of the team from the Sophie-Barat-School Hamburg didn’t run till the end. But that, what is running there, is really stunning!

The DPG and DLR thank all participating students as well as all teachers! It took some teams over a hundred attempts to get their incredible machine going. Some teachers did submit their movies the night or even only a few minutes before the deadline. DPG and DLR are thrilled by this level of dedication!

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