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MISSION: IGNITE brings back this Rube Goldberg style competition to Western New York
In coordination with TECH WARS ECC South Campus Cafeteria | 4041 Southwestern Blvd | Orchard Park NY 14127


The goal is to establish regional teams of students to stretch their imaginations, engage in critical thinking and problem solving skills.

Students will identify a simple, daily task and design and build an intentionally over engineered solution using everyday items.

For this competition, the final objective is to zip a zipper.



Reuben Garrett Lucius “Rube” Goldberg

(July 4, 1883 – December 7, 1970)

Rube Goldberg was a Pulitzer Prize winning American cartoonist, sculptor, author, engineer, and inventor.  Goldberg is best known for a series of popular cartoons depicting zany contraptions that are deliberately over-engineered to perform a simple task in a complicated fashion. Complex, wacky, ingenious and logically organized, Rube Goldberg Creations solved everyday problems using simple machines in hilarious ways. His legacy lives on in the Rube Goldberg Machine Competitions world-wide.  Learn more about him HERE.

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects overall STEM employment to grow about 13% between 2012 and 2022. Companies like yours can get involved at the grass roots and begin training future employees! Our goal is to foster a long term relationship between schools, corporations and employees.

A Rube Goldberg Style Competition for Students in Grades 6-12

Basic Rules

Student teams must consist of no more than 6 members and 1 adult advisor.

Each machine must consist of a minimum of 8 discernible steps not including start task or finish task.

Every machine must start with a ball and ramp and end with zipping a zipper.

No electricity will be provided. Teams may bring a small portable power station safe for indoor use. No more than two items in any machine may use electrical power.

Machine must be designed to rest on the floor of the event venue.

No live animals allowed. No flames or anything flammable.

All liquids must be properly stored, used and cleaned up.

Each team will be assigned an 8 x 10 foot space. The entire machine must fit into that area.

Any machine deemed unsafe by the judges will be disqualified.  The judge’s decision is final.

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