By Michelle Durham

AMBLER, Pa. (CBS) — Students at a Montgomery County middle school have placed in the Top 10 of this year’s “National Online Rube Goldberg Machine Contest,” thanks to four industrious eighth-grade boys and one supportive teacher-advisor.

The team at the Wissahickon Middle School in Ambler designed, built, and tested their Halloween-themed contraption.

“The Rube Goldberg Contest is essentially an international online contest we have to create a very complex machine to perform a simple task — this year it was to pop a balloon,” explains Michael Collins, one of the students.

VIDEO: Watch Their Machine In Operation

Another student, John O’Farrell, says they used materials already at hand:

“We mostly built it using material that we each had.  We weren’t supplied with any school materials.”

That includes wood and lots of duct tape.

“It holds a lot of stuff together!” notes student says Himmavath Jois.

rube people  durham Students at an Ambler Middle School Reach Finals In Contest To Design Wacky Machinery

(Teacher-advisor Ketty Kaminsky, left, with students Andrew Harman, Himavath Jois, John O'Farrell, and Michael Collins. Credit: Michelle Durham)

Andrew Harman says the experience has been unforgettable:

“We didn’t really expect to get this far, but it really feels good!”

Now, the students need the public’s help to advance to what will be an international competition.

“There are two versions of the competition — one selected by a panel of judges, the other by popular vote,” explains teacher Ketty Kaminsky.  “Voting begins May 2nd through May 15th.”

Vote for your favorite in the 2012 Rube Goldberg Contest

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