Design Contests

High School Design Contest 

The High School Design Competition (HSDC) at EOH is great way to get exposure to engineering principles such as design, testing, and redesigning, as well as teamwork, and communication skills. The contest is for teams of 2-12 high school students to build a Rube Goldberg Machine which will then be judged against other high school teams from across the state. A Rube Goldberg machine is a machine that completes a simple task in the most complicated way possible. It is very similar to the board game mousetrap, and they are very enjoyable to construct and watch. The teams compete by performing runs of their machine in front of the judges. Teams are encouraged to build the wackiest, craziest, most outrageous machines possible. Any questions and concerns can be directed to Michal Obstoj at (

Competition Details

This year’s competition will be held the Friday of EOH, March 8th. The task for this year’s competition is to Hammer a Nail. More information and the official rulebook can be found at Rube Goldberg Official Website. You can register for the HSDC @ the University of Illinois through the Rube Goldberg Society website, at The registration fee is $50, paid directly to the Rube Goldberg Society, and the deadline for registering is February 15, 2013.

Middle School Design Contest

The Middle School Design Competition (MSDC) is a competitive design contest open to students in 6th-8th grade. Students must construct a design prior to EOH and bring it to compete against other teams of students. The contest will be held on Saturday, March 9th at 9:00 am – 2:00 pm in the Illini Union ABC Rooms. Registration is open now until February 15th, 2013. Entries are accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Registration is available here.



Create a 4 Wheel Balloon Car using the following materials:

    • Jet: Balloon, Flexible Straw, and Rubber Band or Tape
    • Body (Select One): Water bottle, Toilet-paper tube, Juice box, Disposable cup (paper or plastic), Fast-food or deli “clamshell” container (where the top and bottom connect with a seam in the back), Ice cream container (pint or quart), Milk carton (individual size), Cardboard sheet, or Orange-juice can
    • Axles (Select One): Straws, Barbeque Skewers, or Chopsticks
    • Wheels (Select One): Bottle caps, Candy mints (with a hole in the middle), CDs, or Cardboard circles
    • Connector for attaching wheels to an axle (Select One): Dry sponge, Foam, Clay, or Marshmallow (cut in half)

Use the materials listed above to create a 4 Wheel Balloon Car. The winning car should be able to travel 2 yards with the fastest time. In addition, following awards will also be given:

    • Most creative design
    • Viewers choice
    • Demolition Derby (Whose car is the toughest? See whose car still runs after five head-on collisions)

The 4 Wheel Balloon Car cannot be made using any batteries. The balloon should be the only way to power the car.

If you have any questions about the contests, please contact Michelle Lopez or Saachi Shah at (

Discover EOH!

Discover EOH! is an exhibit based scavenger hunt geared towards grade schoolers that will lead them all through EOH. The scavenger hunt is a great opportunity to see the most popular exhibits at EOH and earn a prize for completing the scavenger hunt!

There is no registration necessary for Discover EOH! You can just come to the Welcome Tent to receive your scavenger hunt list to start your visit!

Illini Engineering Challenge

Interested in participating in an on-site design contest? Then come to Illini Engineering Challenge! This year participants will have to build a rubber band powered car with the materials provided. There will be hourly races where the winner of the race will be given prizes!