Information about the First Year Engineering Design Challenge for the Class of 2027.

Date: Saturday, February 10th, 2024

Time: 1pm to 5pm

Location: Science and Engineering Complex (SEC) Atrium

Design Challenge for Spring 2024: “Chain Reaction”

“Chain Reaction” machines (sometimes known as Rube Goldberg machines) have been a classic example of demonstrating the transfer of energy, laws of motion, and several other practical applications of engineering while providing creators with a hands-on making experience. Several teams of first-year students will be responsible for a “section” of the overall machine, with a triggering of section-by-section and overall collaborative goal of a start-to-finish system.

The total time provided to all teams to finish their contraptions will be 4 hours (arrive at 1pm and finish by 5pm). No prior knowledge or work required!

See what the Class of 2025 created previously!


First-Year Students (Class of 2027):

First-Year Students can register (and come individually or bring friends as teammates) at the following link:

First-Year Students Register Here!


Other students (undergrads and graduate students) or staff can register to be mentors during the event, helping and guiding the first-year students to successful solutions. Please use the following link to register (confirmation and more information will be sent to those who sign up):

Mentors Register Here!


Saturday, February 10th, 2024 (1pm to 5pm)

1:00 pm – 1:15 pmWelcome, Section/Area Assignments, Group Setup
1:15 pm – 2:00 pmStart Building (and First Check-In @ 1:50pm)
2:00 pm – 3:00 pmContinue Work (and Second Check-In @ 2:50pm)
3:00 pm – 4:00 pmContinue Work (and Third Check-In/Trial @ 3:45pm)
4:00 pm – 4:30 pmFinal Work Session (Final Tweaks)
4:30 pm – 4:45 pmShowcase! (2x Runs, with Reset)
4:45 pm – 5:00 pmDisassemble and Cleanup


No preparation needed! We will supply all the the materials and mentors to help you succeed. Just come with your energy, ideas, and enthusiasm and willingness to creately collaborate to innovate a solution to the problem!

Questions? Need more information? Contact SoE First-Year Coordinator Ethan Danahy at


This Design Challenge event is organized by/with generous support from:

Tufts University School of Engineering

Nolop Makerspace

Tufts University Center for Engineering Education and Outreach

Derby Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts

Tufts School of Engineering First-Year Program

Return to the First Year Engineering Design Challenge overview page.