Chain Reaction Challenge Official Rules


The theme of the 2015 TekVenture Chain Reaction Challenge is "Gravity Works!". Teams are encouraged to think in terms of the theme. Be creative on your interpretation of the theme.

What is a Chain Reaction "Link" and how does it work?

A link is a self-built machine that does lots of things to accomplish a simple task. It is like a home-made mousetrap game. A team of kids and parents use common household items or their favorite toys to build a series of steps that accomplish a set task. It can be fun to build a link to a particular theme so the audience can enjoy seeing how creative the team can be.

Chain Reaction Link Scenario

As an example, a golf ball moves down the tube hitting dominos. The dominoes all fall over and hit a trigger that releases another ball that rolls on a ramp that goes around the whole machine. The ball falls into a bucket. The bucket pushes down a see-saw. The opposite end of the see-saw lifts a light switch that turns on a small motor. The motor pulls up a ramp and the ball starts rolling down the ramp and out to the next machine.

Viewing will be limited to one side of the link. As you face your contraption, action should begin at the right and end at the left (see diagram).

Some Guidelines

Each link in the Chain Reaction machine will be connected by tubes to pass a single golf ball from link to link.

Each machine will receive the ball from the previous machine at a height of 2" above table height and should then integrate this ball into its links, using it in any way you can imagine.  Each machine will release a golf ball (same one or a different one) to the next machine link in the chain at a height of 6" (this is not a typo, we mean 6", NOT 2") above table height.  Extra tubes, ramps and slides will be used by the organizers to transfer the ball from the 6” release point on your machine to the 2” receiving point on the next machine.

No open flames, dangerous chemicals, helium balloons, or more than 1 cup of water is allowed. Machines cannot generate smoke or vapor which could interfere with the library's fire detection system.


Chain Reaction links should represent a team effort.

The Chain Reaction Challenge is inspired by a similar event started at the Massachuetts Institute of Technology Museum in Cambridge, Massachusetts by famed sculptor, Arthur Ganson: