Ag Makers Challenge: Cardboard Tractor


31 Gilford Ave.
Rumney Bible Conference
Rumney, NH 03266
United States

Green tractor


"Just like many of us, farmers have looked to technology to make their jobs easier. In the 18th century, farmers used horses and oxen to pull wooden plows. In 1837, John Deere started producing steel plows and in 1868 steam tractors were invented that no longer needed horses or oxen. Then, John Froelich invented the first successful gas-powered tractor in 1892. Today tractors are used when planting, fertilizing, harvesting, and moving items around the farm. Over 120 years later and tractors are still helping farmers and ranchers perform many agricultural tasks." - American Farm Bureau Foundation, Purple Plow Puzzler #26.

The Challenge: Design and build a cardboard tractor that will travel in a straight line when released from an incline position without assistance. Success will be determined by measuring the distance the tractor travels along the straight line from the point of release to the point where the tractor veers from the path of travel. 


  1. All participants must be current enrolled 4-H members.
  2. Participation is open to 4-H members (8-18 years old).
  3. All participants must register in 4H Online.
  4. Finished products must be no taller than 24” and no wider than 36”.
  5. Permissible building materials include cardboard, glue, tape, rubber bands, straws.
  6. You may use a wooden dowel for the wheel axels of no greater than ¼” diameter.
  7. The judge has the final decision as to the appropriateness of any additional items that might be used in the construction of the tractor.
  8. The tractor must steer itself and may not receive a push in any direction to avoid a collision.
  9. All tractors will go through a compliance check to be sure that it meets all the rules.
  10.  Each participant may have up to three trials to race their tractor. The best measured distance will be scored.
  11. During the contest, only youth may operate, adjust and repair their tractors. There may be no adult participation at all. If youth need help, they may ask another 4-H member to assist them.

Pre-registration is required.  Registration will open September 1 through 4-H Online.

4-H Makers Expo

Keep your eye out for this tractor symbol on 4-H workshop postings this summer. This symbol indicates that the workshop is an Ag Innovations project and can be displayed at 4-H Makers Expo. 

Tractor icon
Green tractor
  • Canceled
Online Status
  • In-Person