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Energy Transfer Machine on Video

Because Energy Transfer Machines are large and difficult to transport, studets will submit a video of their machine in action, view the rules for details. The E.T. Machine provides a hands-on opportunity for elementary, middle, and high school students to use their STEM skills in a fun and creative way.  Students are challenged to transform everyday materials into a wacky, innovative machine that accomplishes a team-specified task at the one minute mark using a variety of energy transfers.

  • Students work in teams of 2 - 6 students per team.

  • Machines are designed and constructed as a Rube-Goldberg type of apparatus utilizing various energy-transfer steps to complete a team-specified task at the one minute mark.

  • One of the steps in the device is powered by electricity (not to exceed 9 volts).

  • These ‘timing’ devices are judged on accuracy, innovation, complexity and technical sophistication.

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    Photo of middle school kids with their energy innovation.


The E.T. Machine is open to all Florida students in grades 3 - 12.  Teams are made up of two to six students with at least one teacher/mentor, and divided into three divisions—elementary, middle school, and high school. 

Competition rules for the Energy Transfer Machine

Design form for the Energy Transfer Machine