Rube Goldberg Competition

Rules and Regulations

  • Elementary School Division: K – 5th
  • Middle School Division: 6th – 8th
  • High School Division: 9th – 12th

What is a “Rube Goldberg” Machine?

According to, “A Rube Goldberg machine is a contraption that uses a chain reaction to carry out a simple task. It performs a very basic job in a complicated way.” For example, “First, a person picks up a soup spoon. This action pulls a string. That jerks a ladle, which throws a cracker, which shoots past a parrot. The parrot jumps for the cracker, and its perch tilts and drops seeds. The seeds land in a pail. The extra weight in the pail pulls a cord which opens and lights an automatic cigar lighter. This sets off a rocket that causes a sickle to cut a string. This allows a pendulum with a napkin attached to it to swing back and forth to wipe the chin.”


  1. Start a team (or participate individually)
  2. Register for E-Expo and subsequently the Rube Goldberg competition
  • Registration now!
  1. Design and build a machine
  • The objective for this year’s competition is to make a machine that will push a toy car down a track
    • The machine is what will be pushing the car at the end. The more creative, the better!
    • The toy car will be provided for you!
  1. Compete!
  • E-Expo will be held on March 2nd, 2024 at the J.B. Speed School of Engineering 
    • The Rube Goldberg Competition will be held at 11:00am the morning of the Expo. You are welcome to come any time before that to set up your machine, but the competition and judging will start at 11:00am in WS108.


ObjectivePush a toy car down a track
Group size1-5 students (in same age group)
Minimum number of steps*5
Number of runs for judgingUp to 3 (2 required)
Maximum time for judging (students must be present during judging)10 min
*For high school groups, there must be three different types of energy utilized amongst the steps (potential, kinetic, thermal, electrical, wind, etc.).


All judging will be completed during the allotted competition time on March 2nd, 2024. Presentation of awards will be given promptly at 12:30pm in WS108. Students must be present to win their award.