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Southwest Power Pool, Garver and Museum of Discovery Host Chain Reaction Contest


Little Rock, Ark. (May 7, 2020) – As the public continues to stay at home to protect themselves and others from COVID-19, Southwest Power Pool (SPP), Garver and Museum of Discovery are challenging them to use engineering principles to complete simple tasks by co-hosting a chain reaction contest. Participants can enter their chain reaction machine in one of two categories, family-engineered or adult-engineered, for an opportunity to win an SPP-sponsored Museum of Discovery membership package and chain reaction kit created by Garver.


“SPP is excited to be part of the Museum of Discovery’s chain reaction machine challenge to bring the creative and brilliant minds across Arkansas together to help us keep the lights on,” said Barbara Sugg, SPP President and CEO. “At SPP, we use science, engineering and math to help our members keep the lights on, and we are excited to see Arkansas families use those same skills to imagine creative solutions to everyday problems. Working together to create inventive chain reactions, families are demonstrating core science, technology, engineering and math principles while sharing the excitement of STEM. SPP believes in preparing students to be the next scientists and engineers, and we promote all opportunities to engage in STEM education for future generations.”


“We are honored to join forces with SPP to support an organization like Museum of Discovery that means so much to our community,” said Jerry Holder, Garver Director of Transportation. “When kids build chain reaction machines, they gain a better understanding of STEM concepts, the engineering design process, critical-thinking skills, and the importance of perseverance. And hopefully, they will envision themselves in STEM careers like engineering one day.”


A team of SPP, Garver and Museum of Discovery employees will judge the submissions and choose a winner in both categories. Entries will be judged based on the following criteria:

  • Level of difficulty
  • Creativity
  • Challenging items used
  • Complexity of elements
  • Run time – maximum points will be awarded to reactions that last 10 seconds or longer (but they should last no longer than 1 minute)
  • Completion of a simple task

Bonus points will be awarded to submissions that:

  • Create a chain reaction that results in turning on a light
  • Are filmed in one take (no editing.) However, a “nudge of encouragement” is allowed if a reaction stalls.

Participants must submit a video of their chain reaction machine by 5 p.m. Tuesday, June 9 to

For more information and tips on building a chain reaction machine, click here.


About Southwest Power Pool

Southwest Power Pool, Inc. is a regional transmission organization: a nonprofit corporation mandated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to ensure reliable supplies of power, adequate transmission infrastructure and competitive wholesale electricity prices on behalf of its members. SPP manages the electric grid across 17 central and western U.S. states and provides energy services on a contract basis to customers in both the Eastern and Western Interconnections. The company’s headquarters are in Little Rock, Arkansas. Learn more at


About Garver

Founded in 1919, Garver is an employee-owned multi-disciplined engineering, planning, architectural, and environmental services firm with nearly 800 employees across the United States. Offering a wide range of services focused on aviation, construction, facilities design, federal, survey, transportation, and water, Garver sits in the top 125 of the Engineering News-Record’s prestigious Top 500 Design Firms list and is consistently recognized as a best firm to work for. Learn more at


About Museum of Discovery

Founded in 1927, Museum of Discovery is the state’s oldest museum.

Museum of Discovery’s mission is to ignite and fuel a passion for science, technology, engineering, arts and math through dynamic, interactive experiences.


We are very thankful for our corporate sponsors.