The Tech Challenge
A signature program of The Tech Museum of Innovation, The Tech Challenge is an annual team design challenge for students in grades 5-12 that introduces and reinforces the science and engineering design process with a hands-on project geared to solving a real-world problem.
Designed to inspire the next generation of Silicon Valley innovators, The Tech Challenge provides months of team learning in science, engineering, and math, culminating in the Event Days on Saturday, April 20 and Sunday, April 21, 2013. Team efforts are celebrated in an awards ceremony, recognizing everything from Best Overall Solution to Most Spectacular Failure.
The Tech Challenge meets California Content Standards and reinforces 21st century skills of creativity, problem solving, design, teamwork, leadership, presentation, risk-taking, perseverance, and learning from failure. This program makes a great experience for classrooms, home schools, after-school programs, extra-credit projects, clubs, or friends!
- Open to students in grades 5-12.
- 3 grade levels: Elementary: 5-6; Middle School: 7-8; High School: 9-12.
- Participants collaborate in teams of 2 to 6 people.
- Registration fees are only $50 for the entire team.
- Fees waived for Title I schools/after-school programs.
- Solutions can be created with common, low-cost materials.
- There are no pre-qualifying conditions to enter.
- Special needs students are encouraged.
2013: Asteroids Rock!
An unmanned spacecraft has been launched from Earth and has successfully landed on an asteroid. The craft has three packages of instruments that need to be deployed to three different locations on the asteroid. These instruments will evaluate the chemical composition of the asteroid and determine if there are enough valuable materials to justify future mining operations on the asteroid. The instruments are very delicate and cannot withstand significant impacts.
Support Throughout the Design Process
The Tech Museum provides Information Clinics, Team Workshops, Adviser Trainings, Judge Trainings, and Test Trials leading up to Event Day to help create positive experiences for advisers, parents, judges, and team members alike.
This year's event is now a 2-day event!
Saturday, April 20 - Grades 5 & 6 and 9-12 Divisions
Sunday, April 21 - Grades 7 & 8 Division.
Learn more about The Tech Challenge events
The design of the device must be compatible with the design rules defined in the Rules section. It is useful for the design teams to keep in mind that if the design rules do not specifically prohibit a particular approach, then that approach is acceptable.
Learn more about the rules
Details about the 2013 are now available. This equipment is called the Test Rig and is supplied by The Tech Museum. Further details and illustrations of the rig can be found in the Test Rig section.
Learn more about the Test Rig
The Tech Challenge judges evaluate your team's project as a whole, including your device's performance, your engineering process and journal, and your style and presentation. They also award points for teamwork, perseverance, and other categories.
Learn more about the judging process
Teams compete for awards in 3 grade divisions: Elementary: grades 5-6; Middle School: grades 7-8; and High School: grades 9-12. Judges award prizes recognizing everything from Most Innovative Design to Most Spectacular Failure.
Learn more about past award winners