The Minnesota 4-H Engineering Design Challenge Showcase events were held on Aug. 8 and Aug. 15. Youth from across the state showcased machines they created with their teams that engaged them in thinking about energy conservation while exercising skills in engineering design, teamwork and creativity.
"Our Engineering Design Challenge program has evolved to engage young people in global issues through creating a machine that completes a task in creative and innovative ways. Through this program, 4-H youth not only gain experience in solving a problem using an engineering design process, but they learn to value the skills they and their teammates bring to the challenge," said Margo Bowerman, Extension educator.
Using this year’s challenge theme, Shine Your Light: Saving Energy Through Engineering, teams of youth in grades 3-12 built complex machines that accomplished the important task of turning on and off a light. The in-person event was held on Aug. 8 at St. Cloud State University with 13 teams competing. A virtual event was also held on Aug. 15 with three teams participating. Teams at the in-person event were also able to participate in a Reverse Engineering Challenge, which involved creating a water filtration device using items salvaged from their gear after falling into a river.
Participating as a judge in this year’s in-person event was one of Rube Goldberg’s grandchildren, Geoffrey George-- a cinematographer from St. Paul. George brought an original drawing that Rube Goldberg created and shared information about his grandfather and his contraptions. Other judges included representatives of Buhler Inc., Massman Automation Designs, Pope/Douglas Solid Waste Management, UMN Duluth Swenson College of Engineering and UMN Extension 4-H STEM.
"Our judges, which come from a variety of engineering and STEM-related fields, are complimentary of the skills that youth use to complete the challenge as well as the excitement and creativity that teams display," Bowerman said.
Check out the 2022 Engineering Design Challenge Showcase results.