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Rube Files

Rube Goldberg Contest

Helpful Advice

  • Start designing and building machines early.
  • Try not to have marathon building sessions to construct your machine.
  • Many short working sessions are much more productive than a few long sessions.
  • Down time for thinking and processing is very valuable.
  • Be creative with your steps.
  • Judges value ingenuity over simplicity.
  • Judges look for out of the ordinary energy transfers that show creative thinking.
  • If you find one or more of your steps are not working, please don’t hesitate changing them to something more reliable.

More about the Contest

Stanley Middle School started the Rube Goldberg Machine Contest in the winter of 2000. The goal for our contest is based on the published goal created for the national event held at Purdue University. Stanley modifies the national goal, designed for college engineering students, for a middle school contest. The goal for the machines that first year was to put something into a box and to close the box after the object was placed inside. We had 12 very enthusiastic groups competing in our inaugural contest. Since then the machines have become more creative and sophisticated, and participants seem to work even more feverishly creating the ultimate machine with the most ingenious energy transfers. Over the years, groups have speculated that 40+ fun filled and intensive hours were spent designing and building their machines. Based on the staff’s observations, we unanimously agree with the students’ estimation of the time required to design and build these remarkable contraptions. We have, without a doubt, witnessed some outstanding budding engineers.