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Chain Reaction Contraption Contest Orientation Agenda Introduction Rules Tips for Success Questions Contraption demonstration 2007-2008 Chain Reaction Contraption Contest Contest Day Carnegie Science Center Friday, December 7, 2007 7:00AM - 4:00PM Challenge

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Chain Reaction Contraption Contest

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orientation agenda
Orientation Agenda
  • Introduction
  • Rules
  • Tips for Success
  • Questions
  • Contraption demonstration
2007 2008 chain reaction contraption contest
2007-2008 Chain Reaction Contraption Contest
  • Contest Day
    • Carnegie Science Center
    • Friday, December 7, 2007
    • 7:00AM - 4:00PM
  • Challenge
    • Draw and erase an “X” in 20 steps or more
  • Team
    • Four students, a teacher and a mentor (mentor is optional but recommended)

Complete rules available

student participation
Student Participation

We encourage any interested students at your school to participate. However, only one team can represent your school at the Chain Reaction Contraption Contest. Some schools have multiple teams build machines and then send the best team’s machine to represent the school. Other schools choose to have the entire class participate as one team, creating one machine. All students participating receive certificates, but only the 4 students who represent the school on Contest Day will be recognized and will be eligible to receive prizes.

Up to 4 home schools may combine efforts to field a 4-student team.

  • Administrative Rules
    • The contraption must complete the challenge as defined in the Chain Reaction Contest Handbook (draw and erase an “X” in 20 steps or more).
      • Each step is worth 1 point up to a maximum point total of 20 for the number of steps.
    • Judging will be based on the rules set forth in the Chain Reaction Contraption Handbook.
    • The judges will inspect the contraption for safety and rules infractions. Their decisions are final.
    • The team must not spend more than $100 on the contraption.
    • Each team must be set up by their assigned time on contest day. (Note that the contest will not be postponed due to inclement weather.) Nothing will be provided by the contest officials; all materials required to set up the contraption must be provided by the team. No new construction is permitted at the contest site; only the contraption’s set-up should be completed on contest day.
    • Contestants are responsible for removing their contraption and any debris immediately following the contest.
    • A team’s contraption must not imply profane, indecent, or lewd expressions.
    • Live animals, plug-in electricity, combustible fluids, open flames and hazardous materials are not allowed.
step definition
Step Definition

A step is defined as an action that results in another action working towards the final goal of the machine. For example, the act of tipping over a block of wood with a rolling ball is a step. The actual tipping motion of the block is NOT a step, unless it causes another action to occur. A series of the same actions repeated (such as dominoes knocking each other over or a ball hitting another ball) are considered to be one step in the spirit of the Chain Reaction Contraption Contest.

  • Reasons for Disqualification
    • An unsafe contraption
    • Intentionally causing a loose or flying object to go outside the set boundaries of the contraption
    • Damaging another team’s contraption
  • Dimensions
    • The finished contraption must not exceed 5 ft x 3 ft x 2 ft. The contraption, while operating, must remain inside the dimensions. The platform is included in the maximum dimension measurement.
    • 10 point deduction for exceeding the dimension limit
    • See page 2 of the Chain Reaction Contraption Handbook.
  • Time Limit
    • Each contraption must take at least 30 seconds to run completely through its steps and must not run longer than 2 minutes. During the contest, you will be required to run your contraption completely through its steps (in at least 30 seconds and at most 2 minutes), reset your contraption, then run it through its steps again (in at least 30 seconds and at most 2 minutes). Your reset must take less than 4 minutes.
    • Worth 20 points of Operation score for time limit on runs and 5 point deduction if reset is greater than 4 minutes
    • See page 3 of the Chain Reaction Contraption Handbook.
  • Restarts & Human Interventions
    • If your contraption should fail during its operation, you may decide whether to continue the run by helping a step along (a human intervention) or to give up on the run and call a restart.
    • A restart must be called by a team member before the contraption completes its final step and can only be called when the contraption is stalled.
    • Once the final step has been completed, the contraption run is deemed final and no restart may be taken.
    • If the team calls a restart, any interventions that occurred during the initial run will not be penalized because the initial run will be replaced by the restart run. Any interventions that occur after the restart will be penalized.
    • Only one restart will be allowed per run during the contest.
    • 5 point deduction per restart; 3 point deduction per human intervention
    • See page 3 of the Chain Reaction Contraption Handbook.
  • Miscellaneous
    • Each step must be marked on the contraption.
      • Worth 2 points of Operation score
    • Loose or flying object unintentionally leaving contraption boundary
      • 2 point deduction for an unintentional loose or flying object
    • Teachers, mentors and spectators are not allowed to coach or ask questions of the team.
      • 10 pt deduction for coaching
  • Design Proposal (5 pts)
  • Photographic Progress Report 1 (2 pts)
  • Photographic Progress Report 2 (2 pts)
  • Photographic Progress Report 3 & Preliminary List of Steps (6 pts)
  • List of Steps, Photo & Media Release(-12 pts if missing)
  • Verbal Presentation (20 pts)
  • Chain Reaction Contraption Operation (110 pts)
important dates
Important Dates

September 28 Registration Deadline

October 5 Design Proposal Deadline

October 19 Photographic Progress Report 1 Deadline

November 2 Photographic Progress Report 2 Deadline

November 16 Photographic Progress Report 3 Deadline

November 30 Media Release Deadline

December 7 Chain Reaction Contraption Contest

making a successful contraption
Making a Successful Contraption
  • The contraption should run to completion with no human interventions or restarts and should complete the assigned task in the assigned number of steps.
  • No team is penalized for having battery-powered steps, but mechanical steps are encouraged and score higher than battery-powered steps.
  • A polished verbal presentation “sells” your contraption to the judges. Rehearse and plan for contest day.
  • Come up with a design and construction plan.
  • Pay attention to the score sheets in the Chain Reaction Contraption Handbook while planning your contest day strategy.
making a successful contraption16
Making a Successful Contraption
  • Set a schedule
  • Find a stable and easily transportable platform
  • Be patient
  • Be bold: change a step if it does not perform consistently
  • Allow time to correct the flaws
  • Be creative and don’t get discouraged
  • Come prepared on contest day to make at least 8 runs of your contraption.
  • The team shall identify the contraption’s final step to the judges during the opening presentation to avoid confusion during the contraption operation.
  • If your contraption is not working perfectly on contest day, come anyway! There are special awards for which your team will be judged.