Chain Reaction! Build a Handshake Machine Entry Form- deadline extended to June 15!
The Cape Cod Regional STEM Network is excited to launch our annual 2020 Engineering Design Challenge! This year’s challenge is called Chain Reaction! and invites Cape & Islands students in grades 3-12 to build a Handshake Machine using household items, a series of chain reactions, and simple machines to shake hands (or high five!) with someone at least six feet away.

Chain Reaction! will engage children and siblings in grades 3-12 from all over Cape Cod and the Islands in STEM-based creative play. Students will use the Engineering Design Process to design and build a multi-step chain reaction using simple machines(sometimes called a Rube Goldberg machine). See video examples of the design process, simple machines, and chain reaction machines below.

Entries will be scored using a scoring rubric giving points for: functionality, number of steps, creativity, innovation, and entry form responses. STEM professionals will score entries, and 3 Grand Prize Winners will receive a prize for the winning entry in each group (grades 3-5, 6-8, 9-12). Prizes will be announced soon! Siblings can participate together and should submit one entry under the oldest sibling's name. Family entries will be evaluated in the age group of the oldest child. Materials submitted as entries may be used for promotional purposes. To opt out, or with any questions, email

The year's challenge requirements are:

1. Design a machine that gives a handshake (or a high-five) to someone at least six feet away. Entries must include at least as many chain reaction steps as the student's (or oldest sibling's grade level). In other words...a 7th grader must build a machine that has at least 7 steps in the chain reaction. Extra points will be given for additional steps.

2. Machines must be original creations by students in grades 3-12 in Cape & Islands school districts (including Plymouth and Wareham). Youngest students competing alone, and students with disabilities needing extra help, can receive help with building, video recording and entry form as needed.

3. Handshake Machines must be made out of any safe to use household items and other basic materials--such as stuffed animals, kitchen utensils, toys, cardboard, tape, string, balls, wheels, paper, Legos, etc...any materials they find at home!

4. Complete this Entry Form and email a video of your machine working from start to finish to by 5pm June 15th, 2020. Begin the video with a piece of paper with your name, school, and grade level on we know which machine is yours! One entry per student, please.

5. Have fun, stay safe, and wash your hands!
Video about Simple Machines:
Video about the Engineering Design Process
Massive chain reaction machine!
Name (of oldest student if entering with siblings) *
Your answer
Email *
Your answer
School (of oldest student if entering with siblings) *
Your answer
Grade (of oldest student if entering with siblings). Your machine should have as many steps as the oldest sibling's grade level. *
Grades of additional siblings participating(if any):
List the simple machines used in your design:(Check all that apply.) *
Describe and number the chain reaction steps involved in your machine from start to finish. Your machine should have as many steps as your grade level. (In other words, a 7th grader's machine should have 7 steps.) For example..."#1: Start by rolling a ball down a ramp(Inclined plane) into a cup. Next, #2:The cup falls down(using a pulley) onto a spoon...etc." *
Your answer
How did you come up with the idea for your machine, and how did you develop your PLAN? *
Your answer
How did you choose the materials you used to BUILD? What did you learn from the building phase? *
Your answer
When you first tried out your machine, what happened? What did you learn from the TEST phase? *
Your answer
Did your machine work the first time or did you have to REDESIGN? What improvements did you make? *
Your answer
Overall, how would you rate this design challenge? *
Wasn't for me
Your answer
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