Students can slide, roll, wedge, and launch their way to prizes with their Minecraft contraptions in the first-ever Digital Rube Goldberg Machine Contest from NASEF 

North America Scholastic Esports Federation Seeks Students’ Zany Contraptions in Free Team-based STEM, STEAM and Engineering Contest 

Orange County, CA, September 16, 2020NASEF (the North America Scholastic Esports Federation) is sponsoring the first-ever digital Rube Goldberg Machine Contest for students to creatively design fun chain-reaction contraptions. A Rube Goldberg Machine accomplishes a simple task in a complicated way and builds STEM, STEAM and engineering skills. The contest is free to all students nationally and internationally during this time of digital and remote learning.

Throughout Fall 2020, teams of students from ages 8-18 will compete with a series of simple machines they have imagined, designed, and built in a fun and competitive forum using Minecraft. The second half of the academic year in 2021 will bring the finals challenge, when students will creatively string together a series of those designs to create a zany chain-reaction Rube Goldberg Machine.  

NASEF is providing free registration to enable as many students as possible to participate. It is also offering free use of Minecraft Education Edition (for PCs and Chromebooks), extending the opportunity to many more students.

NASEF will hold a fall "pre-season" for teachers and students, featuring mini-challenges, providing opportunities to strengthen skills in engineering on Minecraft. NASEF will also provide free coaching from its partners at Connected Camps, which will be particularly helpful to teams that are new to Minecraft.

Registration opens September 16, 2020. Livestreams detailing the mini-challenges will be held at twitch.tv/INSIDEPARTICIPATE at 12:00 p.m. PT / 3:00 p.m. ET on the following days and will be available as VODs afterwards. 

  • Incline Plane: Sept. 16
  • Pulley: Sept. 30
  • Screw: Oct. 14
  • Wedge: Oct. 28
  • Wheel and Axle: Nov. 11
  • Lever: Dec. 2

Teams will have ten days to design and complete each Minecraft creation and submit a Flipgrid video describing their machine and its construction. The finals challenge combining all aspects will run from January 5 – March 15, 2021; the type of machine to be built will be announced on January 5.

“Educators are always searching for ways to engage kids with fun programs that teach engineering and technology principles along with creativity; this year they also need to be equally available at home or in a classroom,” said Tom Turner, chief education officer at NASEF. “This exciting Minecraft competition provides a place for kids to work in teams, have fun making inventions, develop important STEAM skills – and win prizes!”  

"We are so excited to partner with NASEF and Minecraft to create the first digital Rube Goldberg Machine Contest,” said Jennifer George, the legacy director of Rube Goldberg, Inc., the not-for-profit that bears her grandfather’s name. “This opportunity will bring the contest to even more students, as they use their computers to design equally creative contraptions. We can't wait to see what students come up with!"

NASEF will also host related Beyond the Game challenges for students to compete in additional areas such as cartooning, graphic design, social media, story-telling, and engineering.

Contest rules can be found on the website at NASEF.org/learning/rube-goldberg/. This international event is open to all students around the world. Teachers and parents (18 or over) can sign up on behalf of the student team. There are several divisions: Junior Division (ages 8-12), Senior Division (ages 13 - 18), and a Family Division which can cross age brackets (all builders must be under age 18). 

Winners of the mini-challenges during the tutorials will be selected by raffle and receive a variety of prizes including Rube swag. Winning teams in each division of the finals will win a valuable Amazon Gift Card, a 30-minute mentoring session with a Minecraft Expert, and additional Rube Goldberg prizes.

About the Organizers

Rube Goldberg, Inc. – a not-for-profit whose focus is on STEM/STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) – offers annual competitions, traveling museum exhibitions, books, licensing, merchandising, customized education curriculum, and entertainment opportunities. Rube Goldberg (1883-1970) was a Pulitzer-Prize-winning cartoonist best known for his comical chain reaction "invention cartoons." The overwhelming popularity of these drawings made him and his cartoons a cultural icon, an adjective in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary and a term which is invoked daily in American media. Follow Rube Goldberg on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Use the hashtag #rubegoldbergmachine. To watch an example of a Rube Goldberg Machine, click here.

The North America Scholastic Esports Federation is on a mission to provide opportunities for ALL students to use esports as a platform to acquire critical communication, collaboration, and problem-solving skills needed to thrive in work and in life. Learn more at NASEF.org. Most esports matches are streamed live on NASEF’s Twitch channel; the RGMC events will be streamed by partners at Participate. Join online conversations on Twitter @NASEFedu, or on Facebook and Instagram

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Media Contact: Claire LaBeaux   claire@nasef.org