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Extension > Youth Development > Minnesota 4-H > Events > Engineering Design Challenge

Engineering Design Challenge:
Rube Goldberg

2018 Challenge coming soon!

Watch this video to see what your team can do before the challenge is announced!

Engineering a Rube Goldberg Contraption learning guide

The learning guide is full of activities that help prepare teams for the challenge. Please complete this short survey to get a copy of the learning guide.


Learn 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) team competitions, which take place at county fairs. Teams that qualify at their county fair may get to compete at the Minnesota State Fair.

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 staff from the University of Minnesota Extension Center for Youth Development with support from the STEM Education Center.

The 2017 Engineering Design Challenge:
Raise a 4-H flag, and then wave it

4-H flag

Form a team and take part in the 2017 Rube Goldberg Challenge!

  • The challenge is open to teams of 4-H youth who are in 3rd through 8th grades.
  • Every team needs 2 adult coaches who are screened 4-H volunteers.
  • Both coaches must sign up before the team members can sign up. Learn how to sign up for the Rube Goldberg challenge here.
  • Download the handbook for full information.

Watch a video about Rube Goldberg designs.

Rube Goldberg team demonstrating their machine.

Members of the Dakota County Crushers 4‑H Rube Goldberg team describe and demonstrate their can-crushing contraption at the 2016 Minnesota State Fair. Click image to enlarge.

Last year's challenge

The 2016 Rube Goldberg challenge was to design and build a machine to crush and recycle an aluminum soft drink can. Three hundred thirty-five Minnesota 4-H youth from 35 counties formed 56 teams that rose to the challenge. Many of the teams showed their machines at their county fairs, and 39 teams brought their machines to the Minnesota State Fair, where they took part in conference judging and gave demonstrations for audiences in the 4-H building.

About Minnesota 4-H

Minnesota 4-H is a learn-by-doing youth development organization offered throughout the state. Read more about 4-H. The 4-H Engineering Design Challenge is one of many science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) projects that young people can do in 4-H. We encourage critical thinking, creativity, innovation, and problem solving in nonformal learning experiences and we have fun in the process!

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