The NERD Degree, Chatfield, MN, Division II
The NERD Degree, Chatfield, MN, Division II

Rube Goldberg Machine Contest Winners | Shake & Pour A Box Of Nerds

NEW YORK—Rube Goldberg, Inc. has announced the winners of the 2021 Rube Goldberg Machine Challenge. The contest, which was open to the public, asked participants to create a video of a Rube Goldberg Machine, the crazy chain-reaction contraptions that accomplish simple tasks in complicated and hilarious ways using everyday objects. The machines and the descriptive term “Rube Goldberg” have gained in popularity during the pandemic. 

The contest results, which required participants to “Shake & Pour a Box of NERDS® candy,” were featured via a live press conference on Twitch over the weekend. Nerds sponsored more than 100 students/family groups to support the program which builds STEM and STEAM skills.

“We feel grateful for such a special opportunity to bring this contest to life with NERDS,” said Jennifer George, the Legacy Director of Rube Goldberg, Inc., the not-for-profit organization that bears her grandfather’s name. “During such a challenging time for students, we are grateful to work with NERDS on a happy, colorful, joyous task that put a smile on everyone’s face.”

More than 140 teams entered the virtual competition with 27 team winners selected across its four categories: Division Apprentice (ages 8-11), Division I (ages 11-14), Division II (ages 14-18) and a Family Division. The winners come from U.S. cities and towns coast-to-coast.

And the 2021 winners are:

First Place
Physics Works, Shillington, PA. Division I,
The NERD Degree, Chatfield, MN, Division II
Spring Valley Springboks, Farmington, PA, Family,

Legacy Award
STEAM Train, Santa Barbara, CA, Division I,
Shenandoah Zeps, Sarahsville, OH, Division II,
Happy Family, Palo Alto, CA, Family,
LKE LIONS Gifted Education, Overland Park, KS, Apprentice,

Additional winners as well as the winning videos can also be viewed at and on

As always, participants were challenged to use readily available, found materials to give each machine a story and sense of humor, with the final step of shaking and pouring a box of NERDS. Eligible submissions were judged based on eight factors:

  2. Can we see it work — especially the last step.
  3. Did the team use a variety of simple machines in their transfers of energy?
  4. Did the machine have a narrative or a story and was that theme carried out in the machine?
  5. Creative use of household and/or everyday objects (ie: not just a series of marble or domino runs).
  6. Were there any unique transfers of energy or something in the machine that surprised the viewer?
  7. Did the theme, story-telling, or the machine run make us laugh?
  8. And at the end of the day, how Rube is the machine? (Legacy Award)

Winners will receive a combination of prizes. They include: an engraved trophy, $250 cash and a donation to the charity of their choice, Rube Goldberg Family Swag Bags, which include: RG backpacks, RG S’Well water bottles, RG light-up beanies, a signed copy of Rube Goldberg’s Simple Normal Humdrum School Day, Mad-Libs, and PPC reusable steel straws.

Parents are encouraged to use as a resource to help them provide educational, project-based learning activities for their children at home.

Rube Goldberg (1883-1970) was a Pulitzer-Prize-winning cartoonist best known for his comical chain reaction “invention cartoons,” which were published in the weekly comics in hundreds of newspapers. The overwhelming popularity of these drawings made him and his cartoons a cultural icon, an adjective in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary and a term which is invoked daily in American media and by thousands of individuals. The concept behind all Rube Goldberg invention cartoons – complicated and funny ways to accomplish simple tasks – is responded to universally. Now in their 33rd year, the beloved Rube Goldberg Machine contests, which started as a small event in 1988, are an annual nationwide competition, welcoming teams from around the U.S. to celebrate his legacy. In addition to the annual competitions, Rube Goldberg, Inc. – a not-for-profit whose focus is on STEM/STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) – offers traveling museum exhibitions, books, licensing, merchandising, customized education curriculum, and entertainment opportunities, which continue to grow and enhance the brand. Follow Rube Goldberg on FacebookInstagram and Twitter. Use hashtag #rubegoldbergmachine. To watch one of our favorite examples of a Rube Goldberg Machine, click here.

NERDS is the playful and fun-to-eat candy with a variety of delicious, crunchy, chewy and gummy options: Original NERDS including the iconic dual-flavored box, NERDS Ropes, Big Chewy NERDS… and now NERDS Gummy Clusters. The original iconic box couples two complementary flavors with dual chambers, allowing candy lovers to pour out perfectly imperfect pieces of pure delight. NERDS Ropes give fans a chewy, fruity string packed with crunchy, sweet NERDS, and Big Chewy NERDS and Sour Big Chewy NERDS have a crunch that surrounds a chewy center. The new NERDS Gummy Clusters have tangy, crunchy, mini NERDS clustered around a sweet gummy center for a poppable tasty bite. To find a retailer near you, and to learn more about the NERDS product portfolio, visit and follow @NerdsCandy on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok.

Ferrara, a company related to The Ferrero Group, is an emerging powerhouse in the North American confections and sweet snacking categories. A passionate team of nearly 6,000 employees works together to share delight in every bite through leading brands that have shaped the industry for more than 100 years. Our diverse portfolio of nearly 35 brands includes SweeTARTS®, Trolli®, Brach’s®, Black Forest® and NERDS®, along with iconic favorites like Lemonhead®, Red Hots® and Now and Later®. Ferrara also manages the Keebler® and Famous Amos® businesses for The Ferrero Group. Headquartered in Chicago, Ferrara has an operational network of 20 locations in North America that includes manufacturing, distribution and R&D facilities. Learn more at

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