Use teamwork and problem-solving skills to dream up and build your own working Rube Goldberg machine during the Rube Goldberg Machine Contest on Saturday, Feb. 15! The winning team advances in this nationwide competition.

Register your team of up to 14 students to compete in this test of engineering, creativity and cooperation, open to ages 8-11 (Live Apprentice); 11-14 (Division I) and 14-18 (Division II). Registration is $395 per team, and cut-off for registration is Jan. 31.

Questions? Contact Dave Elmore at or call 563-324-1933Read the Rule Book.

Whether your in a science club, youth group or collective of outside-the-box thinkers, the Rube Goldberg Machine Contest challenges you to build your own functional contraption — and 2020 is the first year the contest is being held in the Quad Cities!

Note: All competitions are held at the same time on Feb. 15.

• Registration forms COMING SOON for Live Apprentice (ages 8-11)!
• Click Here to register your team for Division I (ages 11-14)
• Click Here to register your team for Division II (ages 14-18)


10 a.m.: Setup begins.

At load-in: Teams submit five copies of their Step List. Diagrams and pictures may be included in this description.

Once machines are loaded in: Team Leaders step away from machine and out of the 14'x14' taped-off team area. Any non-team member assisting in set up of the machine will cause the team to incur a penalty!

12:30 p.m.: Team Leader meeting.

12:40 p.m.: All machines must be set up and area surrounding them cleared.

1 p.m.: Contest begins. (Length of contest dependent on number of participating teams. Approximate time per team is 24 minutes.)


RUBE GOLDBERG (1883-1970) was a cartoonist, an inventor, and the only person ever to be listed in Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary as an adjective. Of the nearly 50,000 cartoons he drew in his lifetime, Rube is best known for the zany contraptions of Professor Butts. These inventions, also known as Rube Goldberg Machines, solved a simple task in the most overcomplicated, inefficient, and hilarious way possible.


Rube Goldberg lives on in pop culture and is referenced daily in both print and digital media. His name is searchable, hash-taggable, and at best viral. But nowhere is his legacy more celebrated than through the competitions that bear his name. Learn more at!


Yes. Anyone is welcome to watch the competition for free in the Grand Lobby!

Putnam Museum and Science Center • 1717 W. 12th Street • Davenport, Iowa
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