Engineering Design Challenge:
The goal of the 4-H Engineering Design Challenge is to encourage critical thinking, creativity, innovation and problem solving in a non-traditional learning event and have fun at the same time. Young people in third through eighth grades can compete in these friendly science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) competitions that take place at county fairs.
Participants apply their STEM knowledge to solve problems by identifying and researching them, then making and implementing a plan to design a solution. The challenge is designed and supervised by faculty from the University of Minnesota in the STEM Education Center and the Extension Center for Youth Development.
The 2016 Engineering Design Challenge:
Crush an empty aluminum soft drink can and put it into a recycling container
Are you interested in forming a team to take part in the 4-H Engineering Design Challenge?
- Sign up for the challenge: No paper registration this year. Team leaders, members and youth coaches will sign up through their 4HOnline accounts. Adult volunteer leaders must register before their team members can register. Find instructions here.
- Download the handbook: Most of the information you need can be found in this year's 4-H Engineering Design Challenge handbook.
- Design and build your machine!
Members of the Kragle Konquerors 4‑H Rube Goldberg team from Le Sueur County pose with their machine at the 2015 Minnesota State Fair. Click image to enlarge.
Last year's challenge
The 4-H Engineering Design Challenge for 2015 was to design and build a machine in the spirit of Rube Goldberg, to put toothpaste on a toothbrush.
The best Rube Goldberg contraptions use everyday items in a whimsical and complicated way to interact as a series of chain-reaction steps to accomplish the simple task. To make their RGs, participants in the 4‑H Engineering Design Challenge use physics and engineering principles, employ humor and storytelling, work as a team, consult adult mentors and reflect on their learning. Teams that build a RG and complete the supplementary recordkeeping requirements can show them at their county fair, where they may qualify to be eligible to show their RG at the Minnesota State Fair.