Recycled Engineering Challenge

STEAM Maker Build It! Recycled Engineering Challenge
2018 STEAM Maker Festival Theme: Cryptozoology, Create a device used in the Care or Capture of a Fantasy Creature. 

Grade Levels: 4 – 5; 6 – 8, 9-12

Team Size: 4 students (All members of a team must be within the competing grade level)

Team Qualifications: This challenge series is open to all schools, groups, home school or private organizations

SIGN UP NOW CLOSED for Social Change Challenge


During the challenge, teams of four students will have 2 hours at the festival to design and construct a fun, eco-friendly device from only recyclable materials!

Theme of the challenge will change with each event. Creativity, resourcefulness, teamwork, and originality are highly encouraged.

Teach team will bring 2 – 30 gallon bags of clean recyclable materials to contribute to a collective pile from which you will be able to choose materials for your device. You will also be provided a base kit (listed below). Your team will then present your device to the review panel at the festival. Judges will ask questions of the designers and evaluate your entry based on a rubric. 

Materials provided:
STEAM Maker will provide each team with a toolkit including:

  • Tape Measure
  • Scissors
  • Hole Punch
  • Scotch Tape (2 – 36 yard rolls)
  • Duct Tape (One 15 yard roll)
  • Upholstery Needle
  • Upholstery Thread
  • a Glue Stick
  • 12 pack of colored markers
  • 8oz School Glue
  • 25m Cotton String

STEAM Maker will also have adult supervised community staplers, hand tools, and glue gun tables near work stations for challenge grades 3-5, and 6-9. 9-12 challenges will have tools available for each team.

NO Additional tools my be used in the competition.

Materials brought by teams
Each team MUST bring 1 – 30 gallon bag filled with recyclable materials to contribute to a community pile.

Important Note: Recyclable materials may NOT include: glass, metal, sharp objects, or items with ‘inappropriate’ images

*Some surprise recyclable materials will be added to the community pile.

Students may bring any prior planning design plans or documentation/journaling.

Day of Competition

  1. Students will check in at the designated time and turn in waivers 
  2. All teams will assemble to put materials in a community pile
  3. Team orders will be randomly assigned by the challenge coordinator
  4. Teams will proceed through a line – one challenger at a time- to gather recyclable materials
  5. When the pile is gone teams will have 2 hours to assemble their device
  6. Team members will then operate and display their device
  7. All other team members must be on stage to answer questions by the judges.
  8. Judges will score rubrics
  9. Winners will be announced; trophies presented


Immediately following the 2 hour team preparation time, teams will display and operate their Recycled Device. Teams will each be asked a few questions by the judges. Judges may ask any question of the teams but teams should be ready to answer the following.

  • Please describe your device in 5 sentences or less.
  • Please describe the design process used and how each member participated.
  • Please describe the materials used and why you chose them.
  • What inspired your choices? (1 minute answer)
  • Mystery Question presented by judges.

Judges will observe the preparation process, device usage, and conduct an interview. Teams will receive points based on the rubric attached. 

Once judging is complete, winners will be announced. Winning team receives a trophy and the device and design plan will be showcased on the STEAM Maker website.

Additional Rules.

1.1 All members of a team must be within the same age/grade category

1.2 A team Must have no less than 3 and no more than 5 members

1.3 A School may have no more than five teams

1.4 Every team must have a designated adult mentor present at the challenge.

1.5 All teams must register for the challenge prior to the closing date.

1.6 All members must have a signed the participation waiver for the event.

2.1 All physical work must be completed at the festival site.

2.2 No materials other than those from the community pile or tool kits may be used

2.3 No tools, glue, tape, or materials other than those provided may be used

2.4 Mentors may not advise, help, or assist during the competition.

3.1 No Weapons of any type may be designed.

3.2 No projectile launching devices may be designed

3.3 All devices must be deemed safe to operate by the judges

3.4 No inappropriate slogans, images, designs, or concepts are allowed

3.5 The judges’ rulings on any of the above are final.


If you have any further questions, email: STEAM Maker at or contact the STEAM Maker Workshop.
STEAM Maker reserves the right to modify the rules of this or any challenge at anytime without any prior notification to participants. Participation in these challenges is without cost to the teams or schools. The intent of these and all STEAM Maker Challenges is creative education. Any and all rulings from the judges will be based on the best interest of that goal and the safety of the students involved in the activity.Bring-it Recycled Engineering


Early Maker discounts on all adult and jr maker tickets.