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Crest + Oral-B named as the task sponsors for 2024 Rube Goldberg Machine Contest

Crest + Oral-B named as the task sponsors for 2024 Rube Goldberg Machine Contest

The Rube Goldberg Institute (RGI), known for its innovative approach to STEM and art education, is proud to announce Crest® + Oral-B® as the task sponsors for its 2024 Rube Goldberg Machine Contest®. To celebrate 35 years of competitions, the Rube Goldberg Machine Contest (RGMC) is returning to its very first task from 1988, “Put Toothpaste on a Toothbrush,” and teaming up with two of the most recognizable brands in oral health care to encourage students to use their creativity to help solve everyday challenges. In parallel, they will also educate students on the importance of critical oral health practices, such as brushing your teeth – a key component of Crest & Oral-B’s #ClosingAmericasSmileGap initiative that was launched in 2021 to address the painful reality that many kids in underserved communities don’t have access to the oral care they need. 

“I use Crest. My parents used Crest. And my grandparents used Crest. So, this year’s RGMC task sponsor is literally Rube approved!” says Jennifer George, Rube’s granddaughter and the Director of the Rube Goldberg Institute (RGI). “We’re so excited to celebrate 35 years of Rube Goldberg Machine Contests® with Crest and Oral-B as our sponsors. Both sponsors align with our core mission: equity and access in teaching our kids to think, not just about problem-solving but also about taking care of their teeth.” George continues, “The institute was founded on the idea that every young person deserves a seat at the table when it comes to STEM and art education. All you need is a pile of junk and a great imagination to build an award-winning RGM. Every year, we see kids from Title 1 schools in underserved communities compete side-by-side with their private school counterparts. Here, they meet on a level playing field, probably for the first time ever.” 

HOW THE CONTEST WORKS: a Rube Goldberg Machine Contest® challenges student teams to build the most overly complicated machine that solves a simple annual task. This year’s task is to PUT TOOTHPASTE ON A TOOTHBRUSH. There are four divisions: Apprentice (lower school), Division I (middle school), Division II (high school), and Division III (college). Each division has its own rules that get progressively harder as the kids get older. Live regional contests are held across the US from January through March 2024, and winning teams and their machines are invited to compete at National Finals, held at Purdue University on April 6. Winners of the National Competition receive trophies, prize money, and garner press attention across all media platforms. The contests are free, and details can be found at NOTE: International teams and those that are unable to compete at a live regional are invited to build, film, and submit to the online contest. 

“We, at Crest and Oral-B, remain committed to advancing oral health innovation in every possible way, so our partnership with The Rube Goldberg Institute was an obvious choice,” Sujay Wasan, Senior Vice President, NA Oral Care. Connecting with students from across the nation and witnessing their inventive approaches to getting toothpaste onto a toothbrush, reinforces the significant role that innovation can play in broadening oral health education and access, which are core principles for Crest and Oral-B.” 

WHAT’S A RUBE GOLDBERG MACHINE: A Rube Goldberg Machine (RGM) is a contraption that solves a simple problem or task in the most overly complicated and ridiculous way possible. These chain-reaction machines are based on the work of Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist, Rube Goldberg (1883-1971). Business Use 

COMPETE LIVE: grab your friends, form a team, and have someone 18 or over register at Next, gather a bunch of junk, grab your toothpaste and toothbrush, and start building! There are specific size and step requirements to compete LIVE – all of which can be found in the division rulebooks for your age-group. To compete, bring your RGM to a regional contest near you from Jan-Mar 2024. Regional winners advance to National Finals held April 6, at Purdue University. NOTE: if you’re unable to attend a regional, submit a video of your working RGM for a chance to qualify for Nationals. 

COMPETE ONLINE: The Institute also offers the ONLINE RGMC with no team or machine size restrictions. These RGM’s can start in a classroom, go to the cafeteria, then out to the football field – and as long as it puts toothpaste on a toothbrush at the end, you’re eligible to win! ONLINE RGMC entries are due April 6. Winners announced May 2024. 

COMPETE AT A RUBE-A-THON: The Rube-A-Thon® is a fast-paced, 1-day speed-build event designed to introduce kids to the principles of creating Rube Goldberg Machines and is an entry-point for National RGMC participation. 

About The Author

Rebecca Ash

Rebecca is the Editorial Director at Total Licensing Ltd. She can be reached at

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