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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.

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Whataburger has focused on its fresh, made-to-order burgers and friendly customer service since 1950 when Harmon Dobson opened the first Whataburger as a small roadside burger stand in Corpus Christi, Texas. Today, the company is headquartered in San Antonio with more than 900 locations across its 14-state footprint and sales of more than $3 billion annually. Whataburger is a 2022 Top Workplaces winner. The brand has more than 50,000 Family Members (employees) and more than 60 million customers who like to customize their Whataburgers just like they like it. Visit whataburger.com for more information. To apply for Whataburger jobs, visit whataburger.com/careers.