Frequently Asked Questions
WHAT IS THE CHAIN REACTION CONTRAPTION CONTEST?
The National Engineers Week Chain Reaction Contraption Contest is a spirited competition for 9th-12th graders. The contest fosters an interest in engineering by challenging students to create a machine that will accomplish a specific task using a series of steps. The 2015-16 task was to tell a story! The 2016-17 task will be released in August.
WHO ORGANIZES THE CONTEST?
This program is powered by Westinghouse Electric Company and presented in cooperation with the Carnegie Science Center and Engineers' Society of Western Pennsylvania. The contest will be held on Friday, December 9, 2016.
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE CONTEST?
The goal of the program is to encourage students from diverse backgrounds to consider careers in engineering and technology while enabling students to:
- Better understand mathematics and scientific principles through hands on application
- Gain experience working as a team
- Polish their writing and presentation skills by explaining the concepts and how their machine works
- See how engineers turn ideas into reality
WHY SHOULD WE PARTICIPATE?
It's fun!! It's a challenge!
Students participating in the program have an opportunity to achieve Pennsylvania Academic Standards for Science and Technology: Unifying Themes requirement 3.1.10A, Inquiry and Design requirement 3.2.10D and Technological Devices requirement 3.7.10A.
The Chain Reaction Contraption Contest can be an excellent graduation or senior project. Several schools have used the contest as a class assignment and then held their own competition to choose who will represent the school on contest day.
WHAT ARE THE PRIZES?
Prizes will be awarded to first through third place winners. A People's Choice Award and numerous Special Awards will be given. Special Awards given in previous years include:
- Tour of the USS Mon Valley Works
- Tour of the Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute
- Behind the scenes tour of Kennywood Amusement Park
- Tour of the Inventionland
- Tour of Westinghouse Electric Company Waltz Mill nuclear training facility
WHAT ARE THE RULES?
The Official Handbook is available on the Forms page. The handbook will also be available at the orientation/information session.
Teams will consist of 4 students (9th - 12th grade), a teacher sponsor & engineer mentor (optional).
WHEN WILL AN ORIENTATION/INFORMATION SESSION BE HELD?
An orientation/information session for teachers, students and engineers will be held in September. The session will include information about the program, a demonstration and discussion of the evolution of a previously constructed machine, hands-on activities and prize giveaway. Registration forms and official rule books/manuals will be available. Act 48 credit is available for teachers attending orientation. Please call to make a reservation to attend.
HOW DO I REGISTER OR OBTAIN ADDITIONAL INFORMATION?
Additional information and registration forms can be found throughout this web site, or by contacting:
Carnegie Science Center
One Allegheny Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15212-5850
Phone: (412) 237-1534
Fax: (412) 237-3375