Learn About the Contests


Since 1988, tens of thousands of students have competed in our annual Rube Goldberg Machine Contests° where they are challenged to build the wackiest, working Rube Goldberg Machine that completes a common task.

In the structured environment of our competitions, these contraptions are more than just Rube Goldberg Machines. They inspire communication, problem-solving and teamwork. They hone skills like math, physics and chemistry. On a formal basis, this learning experience falls under the umbrella of STEM/STEAM (Science, Technology Engineering, Art and Math) education — but what separates a Rube Goldberg Machine Contest from other chain reaction competitions is artistry, storytelling, and a sense of humor. After all, Rube was trained as an engineer, but as a Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist, he spent most of his life trying to make people laugh.

What is a Rube Goldberg Machine?

A Rube Goldberg Machine (RGM) is a crazy contraption which accomplishes a simple task in the most complicated and funniest way possible! Based on the “invention” cartoons of the famous, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Cartoonist, Rube Goldberg. His drawings and imagined machines are at the heart of the Rube Goldberg Machine Contest. They use everyday items (mostly junk!), they tell a story, and most important of all — they make you laugh!

What is a Rube Goldberg Machine Contest?

A Rube Goldberg Machine Contest (RGMC) is an event where students of all ages compete with machines that they have imagined, designed and created in a fun and competitive forum. The competitions encourage teamwork and out-of-the-box problem solving, in a fresh learning environment and level playing field. All you need is a good Imagination and a pile of junk!

What is this year’s task?

This year’s task is to Turn off a Light! #RGMC2020 #TurnOffALight #RGMC