2019 Arts & Leisure Division

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

Paige Alaishuski – Grade 7 – Audubon, PA – Rubber Band Guitar

Excerpts from Paige’s essay: “It’s amazing how much you can create with rubber bands: art, medical devices, games. I was sitting at my desk one day, plucking a rubber band mindlessly. I was messing with it, stretching it, playing with it. Then, I realized that the longer the band was stretched, the higher the sound of the note. The idea of the Rubber Band Guitar, or RBG as I’ve nicknamed it, came to me. The RGB is a cheaper musical instrument that still plays well.”

“The rubber bands are the strings of my guitar. The length of the rubber band determines the sound. I used a guitar tuner and stretched the rubber bands until they reached the desired note. The notes on the RBG are G, A, B, C, D, E, F, and G. Then, the guitar was strung, and the strings were glued in place, securing them so they won’t go out of tune.”

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

Kailee Pasenow – Grade 6 – North Ridgeville, OH – The Stop Bullying Sign

Excerpts from Kailee’s essay: “Can you imagine a world where kids don’t bully each other and become friends? My piece of artwork is called The Stop Bullying Sign. The main purpose of my artwork is to remind kids to be respectful to their peers and to stop bullying…My artwork has two different colored hands in the middle to represent togetherness. Around the hands are the words “It Only Takes One” to represent one kid standing up and having a voice to make a change. 1 in 3 students in the US say they have been bullied at school…the statistics show that bullying happens to more kids than you realize.”

“Rubber bands in the Stop Bullying Sign are used in making a visual message about making a change in the world. They are used to make the yellow and blue hands and fill in all the blank space over the negative words. They are also used to outline the words to make them stand out. This artwork can remind kids to not be afraid to stand up for kids who are being bullied and we can all make a change in the world.”

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

  • Kyson Bauman – Grade 6 – Ankeny, IA – Shuffle Golf
  • Samantha Reilly – Grade 8 – Bluffton, SC – Apollo 11 Moon Landing: A Day to Remember
  • Sophie Shadwick – Grade 7 – Ankeny, IA – Sea of Waste
  • Grant Whyne – Grade 6 – Mechanicsburg, PA – The Rubber Band Staircase

2019 Science & Engineering Division

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

Meg Kojima – Grade 8 – Medina, OH – The Rist Rest

Excerpts from Meg’s essay: “The Rist Rest is made to provide a comfortable keyboard pad with elastic cushion. It promotes—and trains a person—to type in ergonomic arm/hand position. Not only does it prevent wrist soreness, but it also helps to prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)…The Rist Rest uses only household items and supplies from hardware shops: that is why my invention is a great do-it-yourself project for anyone who has computers at home. [You can] watch my video for DIY instructions!”

“The braided rubber bands are hooked on either side of a rectangular wooden plank. The rubber bands are bridged over two (or three) round or triangular rods to provide a space underneath for elastic movement. The choice of rods changes the cushion height for a custom fit. As the person applies pressure onto the rubber bands, the sheet of rubber bands supports arms/wrists by flexing to the shape of the likeness of the body parts. The wrists and lower arms are raised slightly to promote a healthy typing form. By straightening the wrist, the Rist Rest will take stress off the median nerve.”

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

Mark Leschinsky – Grade 7 – Mahwah, NJ – The Fire Eye

Excerpts from Mark’s essay: “My invention is called the Fire Eye. The main purpose of my invention is to help save lives. It is designed to protect people from entering a room in the house with a fire inside. House fires cause an estimated 3,400 deaths every year in the United States.”

“My invention uses a big rubber band that is stretched around the door handles from one handle to the other on both sides of the door. It does not interfere with using the door since the rubber bands are very thin and do not get in the way. There is a second smaller rubber band attached to the bigger one which wraps around a small alarm box with a button on it. When the button is pressed, the alarm sounds…The device just hangs on the door handle and remains quiet unless there is a fire. If the adjacent room on the other side of the door handle is on fire, the bigger rubber band burns on that other side of the door, releasing the tension on the smaller rubber band and allowing it to compress the button—then the alarm sounds.”

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

  • Hutton Krieger – Grade 8 – Rootstown, OH – Charlie the Can Crusher
  • Olivia Kroska – Grade 6 – Ankeny, IA – Soccer Kick
  • Gary Leschinsky – Grade 5 – Mahwah, NJ – The Tremor Assist Brace
  • Mark Oyster – Grade 8 – Ravenna, OH – The Elastic Reacher

2019 Top 8 Schools with the Most Entries*

Each school will be awarded a donation of $200 for their achievement: (*Note: this year we had a tie and will be awarding donations to the top-9 schools!)

  • North Ridgeville Middle School – Ohio
  • C.P. Weber Middle School – New York
  • Lakeview Elementary – Oklahoma
  • Rootstown Middle School – Ohio
  • Saint Joseph Parish School – Ohio
  • Parkview Middle School – Iowa
  • Prairie Ridge Middle School – Iowa
  • Holy Trinity School – Ohio
  • Dennett Elementary – Massachusetts

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

View all of the finalist’s entries in the 2019 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 2019 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 12th 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.
  • Schools can win $$$: 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.