Skip to main content
Skip to main content

Digital Technologies

Explore, learn and be inspired

Chain Reactions
Families Competition

Have fun with technology over the school holidays, and you could win great prizes!

Have you ever played the game Mouse Trap? It uses a combination of mazes, levers, wheels and ramps, connected to form a chain reaction of events that end up triggering a trap to catch a plastic mouse. This type of machine – which takes a simple problem and designs a complex solution – is called a ‘Rube Goldberg’ machine (otherwise known as a Heath Robinson machine).

We’re challenging families to come up with their own version of a Rube Goldberg machine during the school holidays. Submit a video of your machine for a chance to win some great prizes!

Your machine will need at least five different steps that activate a chain reaction. Use items that you have at home such as dominoes, toys, marbles, recycled materials, string and construction blocks.

To enter, send a message to our Facebook page with your video attached.

Decorative image of a Rube Goldberg machine set up

You could win ...

  • $500 JB Hi-Fi gift voucher
  • Lego Chain Reactions book

To be judged all terms and conditions must be met. Winners will be judged on creativity and variety of connected events and components.


  • 9 Dec, 2019 (9am AEDT): Competition opens
  • 31 Jan, 2020 (5pm AEDT): Competition closes
  • 7 Feb, 2020 (10am AEDT): Winners notified

Get started

Think about a simple task that you can solve in a complicated way.

Make a plan

Plan your Rube Goldberg machine showing the steps and what it will do (an algorithm). You can write or draw the steps like a flow chart or draw it as a cartoon like Rube Goldberg did.

Build your machine

Then follow your steps to build the machine.

Some considerations

How will your machine start? For example:

  • a marble rolling or falling from a height
  • a toy car rolling down a ramp.

Terms and conditions

  • The video should be no longer than 2 minutes, from start to finish.
  • The machine should incorporate at least five different steps activated as a chain reaction one after the other to complete a task.
  • No premade kits to be used.
  • Obscure all logos and names.
  • Do not use hazardous materials or explosives within the machine.
  • Include no people except the hand of the person starting the series of events (show no faces).
  • Videos cannot use any copyrighted music. If copyrighted music is used the video will be rejected.

See the full terms and conditions.

Here are some examples to get you thinking and inspire you.