The masterminds behind the magic
With Whataburger swag, glue guns, drills, and a bit of duct tape, these high school students created a machine that’s a marvel
It all started when Whataburger called with an unusual request.
"We’re about to bring back one of our fans’ favorite menu items – for a limited time – and we want to announce it in a completely new way. We'd like you to build something to help us with the big reveal."
The people on the other end of that request – physics and robotics students at Harlandale ISD STEM Early College High School in San Antonio, Texas – were happy to take on the challenge.
Using concepts ranging from gravitational mass to momentum to kinetic energy, the students created a 25-foot-long Rube Goldberg machine out of Whataburger-branded items, including cups, table tents, to-go bags—even a cape from the Whataguy mascot.
The machine starts with the motion of an orange toy airplane and ends by pulling back the orange-and-white striped curtains on Whataburger’s latest limited time offer: The Buffalo Ranch Chicken Strip Sandwich.
For the kids, the experience was about more than physics. “It really taught us valuable lessons,” says Esmeralda Castillo, one of the student project managers. “We learned about how to work in groups, how to complete a project on time, how to work under pressure … valuable skills you’re actually going to need in the real world.”
Check out the machine itself here, or watch the video above for a look at the students who made it all happen.