The Engineering Machine Design Contest is an opportunity for teams of 3-10 students to design and build a complex machine using everyday objects with the guidance of a coach. The completed machine will use multiple steps to complete a simple task. Teams showcase and exhibit their machine at a regional contest with the opportunity to advance to the Engineering Machine Design Championship. Teams are scored on a Team Journal, Team Presentation, and Machine Design and Operation.

Each year a competition theme is chosen to guide the machine build and allow for whimsical creativity to flourish. Students are able to explore science, technology, engineering, and mathematic (STEM) principles while having fun in a collaborative environment. 



1. Providing a low cost or affordable experience for students,
2. Inspiring an interest in engineering and related career pathways, and
3. Equipping students with skills that will help prepare them for future careers.


Junior Division | 5th-8th Grade
Senior Division | 9th-12th Grade


Grand Engineering Challenges

Creating awareness and connection to real-world challenges is an important aspect of the Engineering Machine Design Contest. Each year’s theme is chosen in consideration with current topics and aligned to the National Academy of Engineering Grand Engineering Challenges.

The 2021 theme, Driving Change through Transportation is aligned with the Restore and Improve Urban Infrastructure Engineering Grand Challenge. Although teams are not required to design a machine-related directly to this grand challenge, they are encouraged to use the Engineering Grand Challenge as an inspiration point and connection to real-world problems.


The Engineering Machine Design Contest can be used by educators to address the Next Generation Science Standards for Middle School and High School Engineering Design (MS-ETS1 and HS-ETS1).

Contact: | (507) 389-1201