Ideas and resources

Resources for coaches and mentors

Eight practices of Science and Engineering from the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

Learning guide

Members of the Minnesota 4-H State STEM team developed this curriculum to support coaches with practical strategies to teach the engineering design process, the eight engineering practices, and 21st Century skills through an experiential process.

To download a copy of the Engineering Design Challenge learning guide, please fill out a short survey,

Get the learning guide

At the fair

A tip sheet for bringing your machine to the county or state fair—expect the unexpected.


Judge interview: Project engineer and Challenge judge Teresa Burgess explains what she looks for when interviewing a team.

Engineering Design Challenge judging guidelines (You can also find these guidelines in the handbook.)

This judges orientation video explains what the judges will be looking for and how the team will be judged.

Resources for teams


A Minnesota 4-H Engineering Design Challenge team in action

The Meeker County Koronis Eager Beavers demonstrate their contraption that puts toothpaste on a toothbrush, and talk about what they learned while building it.

Rube Goldberg, the father of inventions

CBS Sunday Morning video about a RGM competition in Ohio for university students.

Rube Goldberg online camp

In 2015 some of the participants in the Engineering Design Challenge took part in an online Rube Goldberg camp. In this series of short videos, Dr. Duct Tape helps campers understand a number of concepts that they can use in designing and creating a contraption, à la Rube Goldberg himself.

Elements and ideas you can incorporate into your own machine

Keeping a journal

Keeping a journal or record of design ideas, work accomplished, work left to do, problems encountered and solutions tried, materials needed, and any number of other aspects of the experience of designing and building your contraption is strongly recommended. (It is required for teams wishing to enter their machine for judging at county or state fairs or the state showcase event.) Here are some example journal excerpts from teams that competed in the 2015 Engineering Design Challenge.

(Some parts of these examples became difficult to read/see when we photocopied them.)

Questions to help guide journaling