Cape Cod Regional STEM Network Launches 2020 Engineering Design Challenge

HYANNIS – The Cape Cod Regional STEM Network at Cape Cod Community College has launched its 2020 engineering design challenge and is inviting students in grades 3 through 12, and their families, to partake.

“Chain Reaction!” is designed to bring Cape and Islands students together with their families to build a one-of-a-kind STEM machine.

Students will use the engineering design process to design and build a handshake machine.

Using household items to make multi-step chain reactions, otherwise known as “Rube Goldberg” machines, the handshake machine must be able to shake hands or give a high five from at least 6 feet away.

All students in grades 3 through 12 on the Cape and Islands are invited to build a machine and submit a video of their work in action.

Entries will be scored using a rubric that gives points for functionality, number of steps, creativity, innovation, and entry form responses.

STEM professionals will score entries and three grand prize winners will receive prizes for their entries in each group: grades 3 through 5, 6 through 8, and 9 through 12.

Each handshake machine must meet several requirements to be considered:

  • Entries must include at least as many chain reaction steps as the student’s or oldest sibling’s grade level.

For example, a 7th grader must build a machine that has at least seven steps in the chain reaction.

Extra points will be awarded for additional steps.

  • Machines must be original creations by students in grades 3 through 12 in Cape and Islands school districts, including Plymouth and Wareham.

Younger students competing alone, and students with disabilities who need extra assistance, can receive help with building, video recording, or submitting an entry form.

  • Machines must be made of any safe-to-use household items and other basic materials, such as stuffed animals, kitchen utensils, toys, cardboard, tape, and string, among others. 

Entry forms, submission guidelines, and example videos of Rube Goldberg machines are available on the Cape Cod Regional STEM Network’s website.

Submissions will be accepted until Friday, May 15.

For more information, contact Bridget Burger, Director of the Cape Cod Regional STEM Network, at bburger@capecod.edu.

About Luke Leitner

Luke Leitner grew up in Watertown Massachusetts and now lives in West Yarmouth on the Cape. He has been a part of the news team in the CapeCod.com News Center since the spring of 2019. He studied business communications at Western New England University.



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