Students stretch and bend bounds of creativity in contest


The Akron Global Polymer Academy (AGPA) at The University of Akron calls on young minds to stretch their mental muscles for the fifth annual Rubber Band Contest for Young Inventors.
The contest challenges students across the country in grades five through eight to demonstrate their creativity and ingenuity by crafting inventions incorporating rubber bands.
Future artists and scientists alike compete in either the Arts/Leisure or Science/Engineering division. The inventions are judged on creativity/originality, effectiveness/usefulness, design/execution, essay and integration of rubber bands.

Winners and their schools rewarded

A prize of $2,500 will be awarded to the first-place winner in each division, and $500 will be awarded to each runner-up. The four remaining finalists in each division will receive a $50 gift card. The top four schools with the most entries will receive a $250 donation to their school. The results will be announced on May 24, 2013.
Last year's winners were Halie Nitzsche of Akron and Robert Keller IV of Canton, Mich. Nitzsche won the Arts/Leisure division with her Rubber Band Tree, and Keller won the Science/Engineering division with his Piano Page Turner.
Dr. Carin Helfer, assistant director of AGPA Science Education Outreach, notes that the contest incorporates a lesson plan for teachers interested in involving their students in the competition. "Rubber Band Contest: Stretch Your Students' Imaginations" helps teach students about polymers and prepare them for the contest.

Challenge reinforces classroom lessons

"The lesson plan, aligned with National Science Education Standards, will allow teachers to easily incorporate the Rubber Band Contest into their curriculum," says Helfer. "Through a hands-on experiment, the students will learn about the properties of polymeric materials. After learning these properties, the students are challenged to create and enter an invention in the AGPA Rubber Band Contest."
The lesson plan and complete contest entry rules and details are available at Rubber Band Contest, or from the Akron Global Polymer Academy at 330-972-8178 or The deadline for entries is April 5, 2013. 

About the Akron Global Polymer Academy

The Akron Global Polymer Academy is the educational outreach arm for the UA College of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering. The AGPA creates and disseminates knowledge about polymer science, polymer engineering, and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education through face-to-face teacher workshops, tours and distributive education ventures.

About The University of Akron

The University of Akron offers more than 300 associate, bachelor’s, master’s, doctorate and law degree programs – with accreditations by 35 professional agencies. With nearly 30,000 students and $46.7 million in sponsored research awards, UA is among the nation's strongest public universities focused on innovation, entrepreneurship, and investment in community and economic growth. Programs are targeted to diverse groups of learners, including full-time, part-time and online students, veterans and adults returning to the classroom. The distinctive Akron Experience enhances postgraduate success through internships and co-ops, academic research (both undergraduate and graduate), study abroad, on-campus student employment and service projects.

 Story by Nick Nussen

Media contact: Denise Henry, 330-972-6477 or