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2018 STEM Contest

"2018 STEM contest banner"

Use your unique brilliance to build a device that will make a splash!

We invite you to create a deliberately complex contraption, known as a Rube Goldberg machine, to explore this year’s Annual STEM Contest and, ultimately, MAKE A SPLASH!
Incorporate water in some capacity—such as hydropower energy, water filtration, or a literal splash—and let us see your innovative ideas overflow into a wonderfully watery whatchamacallit!
Students in kindergarten through 12th grade may participate, and you can submit as many entries as you like.
The top three winners from each grade level and the overall “Best-in-Show” winner will receive:

  • A STEM kit
  • A Trophy

Start assembling your machine today!
Submit entries to
Contest ends at 5 PM (ET) March 9, 2018

The theme for the 2018 K12 STEM Contest is MAKE A SPLASH. Using water—and your own unique, crazy brilliance—build a machine that links a series of devices together to ultimately (you’ve got it) MAKE A SPLASH!

  • Submissions MUST use water in some capacity.
  • Submissions MUST showcase a Rube Goldberg machine, i.e. a deliberately complex contraption in which a series of tasks are linked together to produce a domino effect.
  • Submissions MUST contain a video of the machine in action.

Any student in kindergarten through 12th grade may participate.

Judging and Winners

  • A panel of judges will review entries by grade level.
  • First-, second-, and third-place winners will be selected from each grade.
  • In addition to the grade-level winners, one overall “Best-in-Show” winner will be selected.
  • All winners’ work will be featured in the K12 Online Gallery.
  • First-, second-, and third-place grade-level winners and the Best-in-Show winner will receive:
    – A STEM kit
    – A trophy
  • All participants will receive a Certificate of Participation.
  • A selection committee will review video submissions based on the following criteria:
    – Use of theme: MAKE A SPLASH (50%)
    – Creativity and overall educational value (25%)
    – Technical skill (25%)

Video Requirements

  • Video files should be no longer than 1 minute.
  • Video files of your machine must be smaller than 2 GB.
  • Video files must be .AVI, .MPG, .MP4, .MOV, OR .WMV; no other file type will be accepted.
  • Video must adequately show how the entered machine works

Copyright Law
Any video or idea that is copyrighted will be rejected. For example, no video or idea that has been used in television shows, movies, video games, or books will be accepted, but modified machines or machine replicas will be accepted. All videos and ideas must be original and created entirely by the student.
Multiple Entries
Students may submit as many entries as they like.

1. Go to
2. Enter the required information (i.e. name, grade, etc.). Please note that if a student is under 13 years of age, a parent/guardian must submit on the student’s behalf by entering the student’s name and the parent’s date of birth. The parent/guardian must note in the “Tell Us About Your Machine” box that he or she is submitting for the student. Create a separate story for each student entered and for each machine submitted.
3. Upload your video by selecting “Video” in the dropdown menu under “Upload Photo or Video.”
4. In the “Tell Us About Your Machine” box, give us a brief description (up to 800 words) of your machine explaining what it does, what inspired you to make it, and how it applies to STEM.

Deadline for Entries
All entries must be received no later than 5 PM (ET) on Friday, March 9, 2018.
Entries submitted after the deadline will not be eligible for prizes.

Notification of Finalists
Winners will be selected in March and notified by March 30, 2018.