Each team must:
- Consist of fourth and/or fifth grade Howard County students who 1) attend the same school (a school may have more than one team) or 2) belong to a Scout troop.
- Have a minimum of three and a maximum of five members.
- Have a teacher advisor for school-based teams or parent advisor for Scout troops. An advisor may assist more than one team.
- Have their advisor approve the plan.
- Have their advisor present when recording their machine completing the task.
- Submit a team name when registering. We encourage you to have unique names for your team if your school is submitting more than one team entry. This helps us to identify team videos with their documentation packets. If you decide to change your team name, it must be submitted with your video and documentation.
- Include students’ names in the written documentation, but DO NOT include student names in the videos. Videos will be posted online for public viewing.
The machine must:
- Complete the task as described in the challenge.
- Be no larger than 6 ft x 6 ft x 6 ft.
- Have a minimum of eight steps. There is no maximum of steps.
- Incorporate the use of a minimum of three different simple machines with the option of using all simple machines.
- Run for no more than 90 seconds per run, from start to finish.
- Have no corporate logos or names displayed on the machines. Contestants should obscure all logos or names with tape.
- Contain or use no hazardous materials or explosives within the machine.
- Have no living things except the person starting the series of events.
- Be safe to the satisfaction of the Rube Goldberg Challenge (RGC) office. The Contest Chairman must approve any questionable items prior to the competition.
Each team must:
- Submit an electronic copy of a step-by-step description of its machine and upload a video. (See video specifications below)
- Describe in an essay of 600 words or less how STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) were used to design their machine. Diagrams and pictures may be included in this description. Be as clear as possible; give examples.
- Include a list of materials used. Include a list of recyclable materials in your documentation. Refer to Howard County’s Recycling Guide for County Collections for what is considered recyclable.
- Must include a cover page which includes:
- All student names
- School name / Scout troop number
- Team name
- Advisor’s name, along with contact phone number and email
- Email documentation to: Rube@hclibrary.org
- DO NOT include student last names in the videos. Videos will be posted online for public viewing. If first names are included, they may not be associated with a specific face/child.
- Students must record an entire run of the machine in operation.
- The video can be no longer than two minutes in length.
- The video must have step-by-step descriptions of how the machine is operating, including what simple machines are in use, and what is happening.
- Track the motion of the whole machine. Use slow motion or different of angles to capture the full run. Make sure it is in focus.
- FIRST names only on any graphics. DO NOT associate names with student’s faces.
- Videos cannot use any copyrighted music. If copyrighted music is used the video will be rejected.
- Video must be uploaded to the HCLS Rube Goldberg Challenge Channel (directions will go out to advisors as the submission date gets closer).
- The only living thing allowed in the contraption is the person starting the series of events.
- Videos should be in file type: .mov, .mpeg, or .avi.
- Be creative. Consider adding slow motion and freeze frames.
- Review the steps before and after your video so your audience knows what to look for.
- A step in the machine should be considered a transfer in energy from one action to another action. Identical transfers of energy in succession should be considered one step.
- For example, a set of dominoes falling into each other should be considered one step. While technically each single domino falling is a step, stating 100 steps because of the dominoes is repetitive, and not in the spirit of Rube Goldberg.
- No programmable Logic Controllers or any other electronic controller may be used on the machines.
- Students are permitted to design a component that has electricity flowing (e.g., potato battery), as long as the students have designed it themselves – it cannot be purchased or powered by batteries.