Students from 10 area high schools competed in the contest at Navy Pier, which required students to build intricate contraptions that took at least 20 steps to water a plant.
The team from Maine South more than doubled what was required, taking 45 steps to complete the task. It's the third time in the last five contests that the school has taken the top spot.
"Designing and building a Rube Goldberg machine has a lot in common with modern research and development," said David Baurac, one of the founders of the Argonne competition. "Specifically, it’s creative problem solving, and it’s a team activity. The teachers I talk to tell me that the contest is not about winning, it’s about the experience of participating."
Maine South will continue on to the national championship slated for March 26 at Purdue University.
The 10 high schools with teams competing included Chicago Christian High School, Chicago Talent Development High School, Luther High School North and Nobel Street College Prep from Chicago, as well as Downers Grove North High School, Hoffman Estates High School, Joliet Central High School, Wilmington High School, Timothy Christian High School in Elmhurst and two teams from Maine Township High School South in Park Ridge.
Rube Goldberg was an American cartoonist, sculptor, engineer, author and inventor whose cartoons depicted complex machines performing simple tasks.