Technology & Engineering

K-12 On-the-Spot Student Competitions

Come participate in our On-the-spot, Hands-On Robotics Team Challenge and Engineering Design Challenges! On Saturday, March 28th, from 9am-2pm at the Nevada County Fairgrounds Main Center, students in grades K-12 are invited to participate in technology demonstrations and engineering challenges that integrate problem solving and collaborative team work to accomplish specific objectives.

Robotics/Coding Activities

Robots and artificial intelligence touch nearly every aspect of our lives. This technology is guided by code. Students will have the opportunity to engage in activities to code robots in order to solve challenges.

The outcomes for Robotics/Coding Activities are to:

    • Introduce students to coding
    • Explore potential career opportunities
    • Familiarize students with the purpose of robotics in everyday life
    • Identify the differences between robots and machines
    • Identify the main components of robots
    • Introduce students to building and programming robots

All Nevada County students are invited to participate in robotics/coding and engineering challenges on Saturday, March 28, 2020 at the Main Center at the Nevada County Fairgrounds.

Robotics Collaborative Challenge Guidelines

9:30-11:00 - Students in grades 6-8 will report to the robotics tables to be teamed with students from other schools. The challenge will be presented, and participants will have the remaining time to build and program their robot to complete the task.

11:30-1:00 - Students will participate in the challenge portion of the robotics competition.

Additional On-the-Spot Challenges

9:00-10:00 - Mousetrap Racers

10:00-11:00 - Popsicle Stick Bridges

9:30-10:30 - Build Air Rockets

1:00-1:30 - Air Rocket Launch!

To register your students for our On-The-Spot Technology & Engineering Challenges complete the form bottom of this page.


Hour of Code -

Popsicle Bridge Building

Mousetrap Racers

Robotics Programming Lessons for EV3 Robotics

General Guidelines

All entries must be student builds only. Projects should be constructed at school under the supervision of a school staff member or other designee.

No modifications or additions can be made to projects on the day of the challenge. Failure to follow all directions may lead to disqualification.

All questions can be emailed to Dave Lawell at

Robotics Programming Challenge

Instructions: The challenge will be announced the morning of the competition. Students with less programming skills will be placed with students who have strong programming skills.

  • Students will be put in teams of two or three with students from different schools.
  • Each team will be given a built up Lego Mindstorm EV3 robot and a device with the EV3 software.

Air Rocket Guidelines

Age Range: Fourth through Eighth grade.

Students can bring their own rockets, or build one at the STEAM Expo. Supplies and limited instruction will be available.

Testing: Rockets will be competing for maximum distance. They will be launched at a 45 degree angle, and will be propelled by 60 PSI. The rockets will need to be able to sleeve over a 12 inch by ¾ inch section of schedule 40 PVC pipe. Please note that ¾ inch is the inner diameter of the pipe. Rockets will be fitted around the outer diameter of the pipe.

Materials: Paper and tape. Participants are welcome to experiment with different types of paper and tape to create their rocket.

No additional materials may be used on rockets. Any rocket that contains additional materials will not be eligible for testing.

Popsicle Stick Bridges

Age Range: Kindergarten through Eighth grade.

Testing: Bridges will judged by which can hold the maximum load. A load will be applied to bridges until failure or a 2” sag is measured. Bridges will need to span a 16” gap, and can be a maximum of 20” long. The abutments for the bridge will be two 4”x4” blocks (3.5”x3.5” actual dimension) set 16” apart. Bridges should be no wider than 6”, and no taller than 6”. Substructures can be utilized on bridges, but may not drop more that 2.5” below the bridge deck. Bridges will not be tested beyond 275 pounds. Bridges should be built with a large, flat surface on top for placement of a piece of plywood for testing.

Materials: 150 standard sized Popsicle sticks. Any type of wood glue or hot glue may be used.

Mousetrap Racers

Age Range: Kindergarten through Eighth grade.

Testing: Mousetrap racers will be judged on distance traveled. This will be a linear distance measured from starting point to resting point, using the front wheel as a reference point. Racers must be able to start on their own, with no push or assistance from participants.

Materials: One standard mousetrap. No “rat traps” will be allowed. All other materials are the choice of the builder.

For questions regarding the On-the-Spot Technology & Engineering Challenges, contact Dave Lawell at

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