2018 Arts & Leisure Division

First Place Winner Arts & Leisure (awarded $600):

Sophia Thibodeaux – Grade 6 – North Ridgeville, OH – Trebuchet!

Excerpts from Sophia’s essay: “My invention, the game, Trebuchet!, is meant to be a more interactive game that makes learning fun and interesting with trivia facts. Trebuchet! folds up into an easy-to-carry box with a handle and latches…this game can travel almost everywhere…To start, the youngest player goes first. Your opponent will read you a trivia question. If you get the question right, you get an opportunity to launch the rubber band balls at your opponent’s tower! If you knock the two top pieces off, you win! Also included in the assembly guide, is some amazing information on the name, Trebuchet. This game is a fun learning experience for all ages…Rubber bands are the main component to my game! The catapults, which are constructed using rubber bands, launch rubber-band-covered balls. The stabilizer rubber bands keep the walls safely upright while playing the game.”

Runner-Up Arts & Leisure (awarded $300):

Mary Lepore – Grade 8 – Avon, OH – Songs from Yesterday

Excerpts from Mary’s essay: “My art piece, Songs from Yesterday, is a recreation of a vinyl record player. Its main purpose is to be a décor and talk piece. The twisting buttons, removable record, spinning turntable, and rotating needle can spark conversation and engage viewers. For adults, seeing the piece can bring back nostalgia for their childhood or teenage years. For the kids and teens of today, the piece could be a catalyst for creativity and discovery…Rubber bands are employed throughout the piece. The texture of the rubber bands helped with the quirkiness of the project. Even the slight bumps in the rubber bands glued to the box – which originally frustrated me – gave the whole piece an imperfect but charming appearance, which is definitely associated with listening to music on vinyl.”

Remaining Finalists Arts & Leisure (each awarded $150):

  • Alec Borg – Grade 7 – Roslyn Harbor, NY – Downhill Run!
  • Jack Foster – Grade 8 – Rootstown, OH – Rubber Band Pinball Machine
  • Mary Kate Murray – Grade 7 – Hudson, OH – What Goes Around Comes Back Around
  • Ava Vandersee – Grade 5 – Yukon, OK – Shadows

2018 Science & Engineering Division

First Place Winner Science & Engineering (awarded $600):

Rachel Pizzolato – Grade 8 – Metairie, LA – The Halo (Wrist and Hand Rehab)

Excerpts from Rachel’s essay: “My invention is called The Halo. It is a rehabilitation and exercise device for the wrist, hand and fingers. The device has multiple functions and—by changing only the device that is used to perform the exercises—it can be used to increase wrist, hand, and finger strength, and increase flexibility and range of motion for sports related activities…It has rubber bands attached to Velcro straps that help to immobilize the forearm while the wrist or hand is being exercised. Also, the wrist and the hand exercise devices are attached to The Halo by multiple rubber bands that allow the user to experience tension over a full range of motion. Because of the unique design of the connection points, additional bands can be added as the strength levels of the user increases.”

Runner-Up Science & Engineering (awarded $300):

Soham Joshi – Grade 8 – Lewis Center, OH – Rubber Band Enhanced Water Condensation Tower

Excerpts from Soham’s essay: “My invention is a Rubber Band Enhanced Water Condensation Tower — a device that extracts water through condensation from humid ambient air. Water vapor in the air is condensed by cooling the air below its dew point. The main purpose of the invention is to be the much needed source of potable water in places where water is a scarce resource…My invention makes the current water condensation towers more effective by using the energy and entropy of stretched and contracted rubber bands and causing a cooling effect that makes the water condensation process more effective thereby collecting more water from the atmosphere…My invention leverages the concepts of thermodynamics and the unique properties of rubber bands.”

Remaining Finalists Science & Engineering (each awarded $150):

  • Gyllien Anderson – Grade 8 – Kent, OH – The Cats Cradle
  • Emma Budzowski – Grade 7 – Tallmadge, OH – M.T.C.R. (Masking Tape Cutter and Roller)
  • Meghan Ponyik – Grade 7 – Tallmadge, OH – The Ultimate Pencil Holder
  • Sara Streett – Grade 7 – Cuyahoga Falls, OH – Service Dog Alarm

2018 Top 8 Schools with the Most Entries

Each school will be awarded a donation of $200 for their achievement:

  • North Ridgeville Middle School – Ohio
  • Roslyn Middle School – New York
  • Holy Trinity School – Ohio
  • St. Joseph Parish School – Ohio
  • North Salisbury Elementary School – Maryland
  • Bear Creek Intermediate School – Texas
  • Prairie Ridge Middle School – Iowa
  • Parkview Middle School – Iowa

CONGRATULATIONS to this year’s winners, runners-up, finalists, and Top-8 schools.

View all of the finalist’s entries in the 2018 Finalist Invention Gallery

A special thank you goes out to each student that entered this year’s contest. Thank you for your hard work and for sharing your creativity with us.

Thank you to all of the teachers, parents, and mentors who helped our students along the way. And thank you to our judges for their time.

Thank you to our 2018 Gold sponsor:

Rubber Division, American Chemical Society

Stay tuned to our website and be sure to sign up for our mailing list to find out about next year’s 11th annual Rubber Band Contest!


Are you ready to learn about the exciting world of polymers, and stretch your imagination by getting hands-on with a polymer that has some truly unique and amazing properties?

Then come join the Rubber Band Contest for Young Inventors – a contest hosted by the Akron Global Polymer Academy — an outreach division of the College of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering at The University of Akron!

This educational contest was designed to give students a new opportunity to have fun learning about Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics (STEAM) and a truly unique class of materials known as polymers! Beginning each Fall, we invite students from across the nation to come up with new ways of using rubber band(s) to create amazing inventions, games, artworks, and more!


  • To design and create a working invention/artwork that incorporates at least one (1) rubber band.




  • The first place winner in each division will receive $600.
  • The runner-up in each division will receive $300.
  • The four remaining finalists in each division (who are not a first place winner or runner-up) will receive $150.
  • Even more schools can win $$$ in 2018: The top 8 schools with the most entries will each receive a $200 donation.

CONTEST LESSON PLAN: standard aligned and easy to integrate with your curriculum

    • Alignment with multiple standards:
      • Next Generation Science Standards
      • Common Core Standards
      • National Standards (Grades 5-8)
      • Ohio Academic Content Standards for Science
      • Ohio Revised Science Education Standards and Model Curriculum
  • Learn more about the Rubber Band Contest Lesson Plan


A few past winners and runners-up talk about their experiences with the contest, as well as tell us some of the story behind their prize-winning entries.