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Contest FAQ's

We do a lot of things at the Institute and get a lot of questions. Here are some of the most frequently asked. Not seeing your question here? Contact us.

My child loves to tinker and build stuff. Which contest is right for her?

If your child is old enough to build and tinker, we recommend our original Rube Goldberg Machine Contest. This is the gold standard of our competitions which we've run for almost 4 decades. Kids 8 and older are invited to design, build, film and submit their working RGM's and enter our annual competition. Every year there's an annual task that each machine must solve. We announce this on our website in September and you have till spring to submit your entry. Family builds are also welcome and with adult supervision, the family pet can participate too!

I'm a 4th grade teacher and I would love to add Rube Goldberg to my lessons on simple machines. Where should I start?

Check out Rube Resources and you'll find everything you'll need to use Rube in your classroom. The Institute also offers free lesson plans that attach to both of our picture books, downloadable activity cards, lesson plans, projects and paper engineering - all of which are easily integrated into your STEM curriculum.

My son is a big Minecraft fan, but we don't have Can he still participate?

Yes! NASEF, the sponsor of the Rube Goldberg/Minecraft Big Build Challenge®, provides free downloads of

I work at a high school and want to send a team of kids to compete in a live Rube Goldberg Machine Contest®. Are there any live competitions near me?

That depends where you are! For the 2022-2023 competition year there will be several live sponsored contests across the United States. The locations and dates will be announced on our website calendar and social handles in December. Note: space is generally limited to 10 teams per event, so reserve your spot early. If you can't get your team and machine to one of the live sponsored contests, check out the Rube Goldberg Machine Contest LIVE!® and consider hosting your own! Any questions, contact us at

Is there a summer camp program for kids who like to Rube? If so, can you send me info?

We offer a summer Rube Goldberg iBlocks®program with TEQ and Teaching Things, Inc. For information, email us at

I want to have a Rube Goldberg themed birthday party for my son. He's turning 9. Any suggestions?

What a great way to celebrate turning 9, or any other age! Check out our Rube Goldberg Speed Build Bag® - perfect for 3-15 builders and it comes with all the elements to build 2 machines: one that traps a mouse, and another that pops a balloon. All you need is a big table with a pile of random junk on it, add the contents of the bag, and let the fun begin!

I love what you do at the Rube Goldberg Institute. How do I get involved?

The Institute is always looking for mentors, hosts, interns and support from individuals and organizations who believe in the work we do. Inspiring kids to problem-solve in creative and unexpected ways, using nothing more than found and repurposed objects, is at the core of our mission to change the world through equity and access in STEM and arts education. For more information about how you can and/or your company can get involved, please contact

I want to host a contest as a team-builder for my corporate colleagues. Is this possible?

Yes - we offer an array of licensed products that can engage your team! Whether you have an hour, an afternoon, a full-day or longer, and depending on your parameters and goals, we have a variety of options for you. For more information, contact rube@rubegoldberg. 

After I build, film and submit my Rube Goldberg Machine® to the contest, will anyone from your organization see it? And will it get posted to Rube Goldberg TV?

Yes and yes! Every submission to our contest gets seen by members of our organization and if your machine gets into the top tier of the selection process, it will get posted on our YouTube channel, Rube Goldberg TV.

How do I arrange to have a Zoom in the classroom with Jennifer George?

Jennifer George, Rube’s granddaughter and Chief Creative Officer of The Institute, is available to do Zoom classroom sessions with any school or group that is participating in one of the current contests. For more information contact

I need a hi-res image of a Rube Goldberg Cartoon that I saw in the gallery. Is there a fee and who should I contact?

We license all of Rube Goldberg’s original drawings, and based on its use there are sliding scales for payment, including a free educational option. For more information contact

Are there safety guidelines for building Rube Goldberg Machines?

Safety is our first priority and we ask that tools, heavy and/or sharp objects and electrical components be used with care and adult supervision, especially when younger children are building. We ask that goggles be used if objects fly during the machine-run and that there are no explosives, flammable items, or toxic chemicals used in the machines -- and that any animal or human integrated into an RGM be treated with care and respect.

Can a machine or drawing be disqualified from your contests? And if so, why?

Yes. If your machine does not adhere to our code of conduct, which applies across the board for all of our contests, your entry will be disqualified.