Fun and Function! Winners of NASEF 2023 Digital Rube Goldberg Machine Competition Announced

minecraft May 09, 2023
Rube Goldberg and NASEF logos plus a trophy and some text

From the Curry Techs to the Regal Eagles to the MRH Bento Crew: students around the world have been learning important STEAM skills as they imagined, designed, and built crazy contraptions in order to compete in the NASEF 2023 Digital Rube Goldberg Machine Competition in Minecraft. Hundreds of students from around the world entered the event, and the winners were just announced. Keep reading to learn about the Big Build winners, Preseason winners, and the objectives of NASEF’s Digital Rube Goldberg contest.  

Big Build Winners

Congratulations to these winners—watch the VOD of the announcement stream to see these fantastic creations!

Junior Division (8-13 years old)

3rd place (Tie)

  • Team Curry Techs from Florida: judges loved the storytelling and humor in this submission.
  • Team Husky from Hawaii: frozen yogurt for lunch?! In the whimsical world of Rube Goldberg, that’s perfectly acceptable.

2nd place

  • Team Mr. Kim from Florida: the water falling and the music made this entry stand out. Jennifer George, CEO of the Rube Goldberg Institute for Creativity and said this one was “great to watch… really fun.”

1st place

  • Team Regal Eagles from North Carolina: this was an AMAZING Minecraft Rube Goldberg machine. It’s easy to watch, funny, and completed the task twice!

Senior Division (13-18 years old)

3rd place

  • The Whoppers from Florida created a fun machine that weaves in a great story.

2nd place

  • The Officer Workers from Florida: judges loved the deadpan humor and the way the creators carried the Sponge Bob theme throughout. Good job taking cues from the NASEF tutorials!

1st place

  • MRH Bento Crew from Missouri: the sports-like play-by-play commentary was fun to hear, and it was creative to incorporate the Rube Goldberg machine through the lunch itself.

Prizes! All winning teams received individual official 2023 Digital Rube Goldberg Machine Minecraft Contest certificates plus a showcase on the NASEF website and social media platforms.

1st Place also receives free Team admission for 2023 Rube Goldberg Machine Contest (analog/”real” world event) and a $200 Amazon gift card for the team. The 2nd Place teams won a $150 Amazon gift card, and 3rd Place teams won a $100 Amazon gift card.

Pre-Season Challenges: Foundational Skills

Before students created their “Big Build” Minecraft machines to build a lunch, they were given pre-season challenges to help them improve technical skills and better incorporate creativity into their work. For each of the two preseason challenges, three teams also have their video showcased on the NASEF website and social media, and they win a $100 Amazon gift card. Because the focus at this stage was on skill development, winners were selected at random from qualifying entries. Congratulations to the 2023 Preseason winners!

Challenge 1

  • Team EV submitted by Erik K.
  • Blockiosaurus Team submitted by Alfonso G.
  • Emma R featuring Jerry the Pig

Challenge 2

  • Team Uno submitted by Talal T.
  • Team Riders submitted by Yasin H.
  • Team Redstone Builders by Nikolay B.

Why Compete in NASEF’s Digital Rube Goldberg Machine Contest

From the first challenge offered in 2020, NASEF’s global Digital Rube Goldberg Machine Contest has created a fun and competitive forum for STEAM learning.

As demonstrated through the digital contraptions entered this year, students clearly learned about physics and engineering and built technical skills in their designs. The digital machines were required to include at least four simple machines and have at least 10 steps (transfers of energy). In addition, this was a true STEAM project with expectations that machines would incorporate Theme, Humor, and Storytelling as well. In-demand career skills such as teamwork, out-of-the-box problem-solving, and public speaking are core to the event. Students submitted a two-to-five minute video presentation describing their machines. 

NASEF demonstrates its commitment to equity and access in its programs by offering the entire Rube Goldberg program free and providing Minecraft Education Edition free to every student that requests it. Program resources include educator guides with standards-aligned lessons and challenges, insightful webinars and livestreams illustrating the lessons and incorporating insights from experts like animators/illustrators, engineers, and more. The competition has proved to be a fun and valuable option for learners in school-day classes and after-school programs.

“My grandfather, Rube Goldberg, was an engineer by trade but a cartoonist by hobby,” said Jennifer George, Chief Creative Officer of the Rube Goldberg Institute for Innovation and Creativity. “He loved imaging elaborate machines that actually accomplished something despite their whimsical design. He has inspired this generation to do the same—and of course, Minecraft provides a wonderful technical platform for youth today to design and build. NASEF and the Rube Goldberg Institute are delighted to have welcomed students around the world to this design competition. Congratulations to the winners! Every student who participated learned something, and so we honor the efforts of every one of them.” 

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