All entries in all categories share the same set of basic rules which can be reviewed or downloaded in the General Requirements article

Each individual category has an additional set of recommendations and guidelines, and a category specific rubric which are available by category below.

Additionally, all category descriptions and recommendations, and all rubrics can be downloaded as PDF documents at the Judging Information article.

Infernal Contraption Icon Infernal Contraptions

An Infernal Contraption  is a deliberately over-engineered or overdone machine that performs a simple task in a very complex fashion, usually in a chain reaction. The category is fashioned after the American cartoonist and inventor Rube Goldberg (1883-1970).

Intelligence & Behavior Icon Intelligence & Behavior

The Intelligence & Behavior Category covers the study of the mind and its processes. This includes psychology, philosophy, linguistics, anthropology and neuroscience. Scientists in these fields study how human systems represent, process, and transform information.

Living Things Logo The Living World

The Living World category includes anything to do with living organisms. This includes microorganisms, plants, animals, and human beings as well as bioethics, medicine, molecular biology and biotechnology, etc. 

Science Fiction Logo Science Fiction

Science Fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with imaginary, but more-or-less plausible content such as future settings, futuristic technology, space travel, aliens, etc.

Exploring the consequences of scientific innovations is one purpose of science fiction, making it the true future of STEM.

Invention & Reverse Engineering Logo Reverse Engineering and Invention

The Reverse Engineering and Invention  category involves the understanding of how things work together in either a creative or evaluative manner. Reverse engineering is to take something apart and analyze its workings, while Invention involves creating something new. Both aspects focus on a product that solves a specific problem or need.

The Physical Universe The Physical Universe

The Physical Universe category covers experimentation in the non-biological, non-behavioral area. Chemistry, physics, earth science, and space science all fit into this grouping. 

Robotics & Computation Icon Robotics and Computation

The Robotics and Computation category includes robotics, computer science and mathematical analysis or ideas. This includes such applied sciences as engineering, programming, and mechanical design and such formal sciences as mathematics, logic, and statistics. Entrants in this category design, build, and operate mechanical and/or software constructions

Things Icon Things

The Things category involves drafting, rendering, making, building, or forming designs or items utilizing STEM concepts. Primarily focused on engineering and design principles, this category provides a venue for everything from 3-D printing to architectural design, from woodwork to welding.

Special Categories

STEM Expo may offer awards in special or extra areas (categories) for entries that show a focus on these particular aspects in their project.

General Concepts and Information

This page has generic information that applies to all categories. This includes definitions, concepts, and overall information about the STEM Expo categories.