Chain Reaction Family Fun for the Stay at Home Blues

Lemon set to tip over a chain reaction of dominoes

The 4-H STEaMpunk Chain Reaction Challenge is coming home. The challenge has been tweaked to make it easier to build at home and share via video. The basic challenge is still the same: build a chain reaction using all kinds of stuff, be sure to include and count chickens (like the original challenge), and video tape and share. Each week one video will be randomely selected for a prize.

The Challenge – Count Your Chickens Before They’re Hatched

Design and build a unique invention that completes a chain reaction of events that counts chickens along the way. Any kind of chicken may be used, but not live ones (eggs are okay). You must include more than one chicken and count each one in some way. How teams include and count each chicken is up to each them. Chickens can be used in any step.

Chain Reaction Specifications:

  • Complete the challenge task: Count your chickens before they hatch.
  • Complete as many steps as possible. A step is defined as a transfer of energy from one object to another.
  • Your chain reaction can be ANY SIZE. You can even devote a whole room to your chain reaction, provided it’s okay with your parents.
  • Use common household items like books, boxes, kitchen gadgets, random stuff.
  • If you want to get fancy, you may use electrical components, compressed air, or even microcontrollers, if you have them.
  • You may not use hazardous chemicals, flammable materials, explosives, or flames.

The STEaMpunk Chain Reaction Challenge Activity Guide can help you get started.

Chain Reaction Video Guidelines:

All STEaMpunk Chain Reaction video submissions must include the following:

  1. Your video should only include footage of your chain reaction. No video of people or faces. A hand or two starting or helping your chain reaction is okay.
  2. Before you start your chain reaction, walk us through with a video tour of your chain reaction.
  3. The video of your complete chain reaction must be done in one take (including any help for missed steps).
  4. Optional: Highlights - If you can edit video, you can add separate highlights of different parts of your chain reaction, i.e., close-ups, Slo-Mo, boomerangs, repeats, etc. of your favorite parts.

Video Submission Instructions:

  1. Videos can be uploaded to the NH 4-H Community Facebook Group from a parent's Facebook account, or a personal account if you are over 13.
  2. Post your video by joining the Group, and then writing a comment on the challenge post using "Add Photo/Video".
  3. If you are not on Facebook and would like to submit a video you can email your video to, and we will post it to the NH 4-H Community Facebook Group.
  4. Every Friday, the videos uploaded that week will be entered for a prize drawing.
  5. You may continue to upload as many Chain Reaction videos as you want, but each family is only eligible for one prize.

And, for those who like to GO BIG OR GO HOME, check out the "Quarantine - Punk" Challenge and build a chain reaction that goes through your whole house.

For more information or questions, contact Claes Thelemarck at


Extension Field Specialist - Science Literacy
Extension Field Specialist, 4-H Science Education
Phone: (603) 447-3834
Office: Cooperative Extension, Taylor Hall, Durham, NH 03824