The E.T. Machine (formerly Hydrogen Challenge) provides a hands-on opportunity for elementary, middle, and high school students to utilize 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 two minute mark using a variety of energy transfers including power from a hydrogen fuel cell.
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 two minute mark.
One of the steps in the device is powered by a fuel cell with hydrogen that is produced by electrolysis.
These ‘timing’ devices are judged on accuracy, innovation, complexity and technical sophistication; teams are also judged on their use of fuel cell technology.
The E.T. Machine is open to all Florida students in grades 4 - 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.