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Send and Return

Send and Return

Your challenge is to keep as many items as possible inside a scoring area while a fan blows on them from different distances

This is a two-part challenge.


This is a two-part challenge.

In Part I, you will have 5 minutes to discuss the problem, create a solution, and practice.

In Part II, you will have 2 minutes to test your solution for score.

You are allowed to ask the judges questions, but time will continue. The judge will warn you when 1 minute remains in Part I.


(see set-up)


Set up the competition site as shown below, with a 4 foot x 4  foot taped scoring area and four lines to mark fan placement. The first fan line should be 24” away from one side of the scoring area and the other lines should each be 24” apart. Starting from the one closest to the scoring area, mark each line with a score value in this order: 8, 6, 4, 2.

Place a set of the following barrier materials on the table:

6 blocks of different sizes ranging from 2 x 2 to 2 x 6

12” masking tape

1 paper plate

1 paper napkin

4 small wooden dowels

Place the following items in a box marked “scoring items”:

2 cotton balls

1 hollow plastic ball

1 plastic cup

1 ping-pong ball

1 tennis ball

2 6” pieces of string

4 marbles.

Give the team one card marked “STOP.”

Have a working box fan on the floor at the line farthest away from the scoring area. Move it to the next line during Part II and let it run for 10 seconds. Be sure to set the fan speed to “high.” Plug the fan into an extension cord that has an on/off switch. Instruct the team to use the switch when practicing with the fan


Your problem is to keep as many of the scoring items as possible inside the scoring area while the fan blows on them from different distances.

  1. You are not allowed to alter or damage the fan.

  2. You will be given barriers to use in your solution. You are allowed to place them anywhere on the site, but they are not allowed to touch any of the items when Part I ends.

  3. When practicing in Part I, you are allowed to turn the fan off and on, but you are not allowed to touch it in any other way

  4. Part I is over when you tell the judges you are ready to test your solution or when Part I time ends.

  5. In Part II, a judge will turn on the fan and let it run for 10 seconds from each of the lines, starting with the furthest one and then moving the fan toward the line nearest to the scoring area.

  6. You have one STOP card. If you want to move any of the barriers during Part II, hold up your STOP card. You can raise your card at any time, but if the fan is blowing, you must wait until it stops to move the barriers. Any barrier that you move is not allowed to touch an item. When you are finished, lower the card, and the judge will turn on the fan at the next line. Time continues.

  7. Competition is over after the judge runs the fan for the fourth time, or when there are no items left in the scoring area, or when Part II time ends.

For Judges Only:

Make sure the barriers are not touching any of the items when Part I ends. If they are, allow the team to adjust them in a timely manner.

If the team raises its STOP card, the team can move its barriers, but make sure that they do not move the barriers so they are touching any of the items.

Items can touch the barriers if they are blown into them, but not at the beginning of Part II, and the team cannot move a barrier in Part II so it touches an item. For example, if a marble rolls into a block when the fan blows and is touching it when Part II ends, count it for score. However, if the team were to place tape directly onto the marble, it would not count for score.


You will be scored as follows:

Each item left in the scoring area will receive 15 points.

Each item blown out of the scoring area will receive the point value of the line that the fan was blowing from.

You will receive 1 to 15 points for the creativity of your solution.

You will also receive 1 to 10 points for how well you work together.


Were team member tasks and responsibilities sorted out clearly?

Did the team use the barriers effectively?

Was time used effectively?

Was it better to focus on keep the items in or blowing out from higher value point lines?

Was the STOP card used effectively?

What would the team do differently if they did it again?

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