Previous Hands-on Challenges

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Fantastic vehicle

Create a vehicle that will be blown as far as possible across the floor, propelled only an electric fan.

Time:

1 minute to think and plan. 4 minutes to build the vehicle. 2 minutes to test the vehicle.

 

Supplies:

For Team: 6 wheels, 10 straws, 6 craft sticks, 4 rubber bands, 4 mailing labels, four 3x5 cards, 4 pieces of notebook paper, 10 paper clips, 2 binder clips, two 6" pieces of string, 1 pair of scissors.

For Judge: A tabletop size electric fan, preferably with multiple speeds. A tape measure, masking tape and some small stickers.

 

Set-up:

Place one piece of tape about 4' long on the on the floor. This is the Start Line. Center a 1' taped square parallel to the taped line, with the closest edge of the square 1' from the line. Place the fan in this box.

 

Rules: 

  1. Teams will use only the supplies provided to create their vehicle. The scissors, fan and tape measure may not be part of the vehicle.

  2. The taped lines may not be altered in any way.

  3. The fan may not be removed from the taped square.

  4. The team will designate one team member to operate the fan.

  5. The fan operator will use the fan to blow the vehicle as far from the Start Line as possible.

  6. When the vehicle comes to a stop the judge will mark the point of farthest progress with a small sticker.

  7. The team can make additional attempts until time expires, or they choose to stop.

  8. The team may make adjustments to the vehicle between attempts, but time will continue.

  9. Team members may not touch the vehicle during scoring attempts.

Scoring:

1 pt for each inch the vehicle moves from the Start Line for each of the TWO BEST attempts. 
1-10 pts for how well the team used the materials
1-20 points for teamwork

Debriefing:

Would it make a difference if distance was measured from front or back of vehicle?

Does the "vehicle" have to have wheels?

Did the team adjust the vehicle effectively between attempts?

What would you do differently if you did it again?

The Long and Tall of it

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Time:

You will have 8 minutes to solve the problem. You will be warned when 2 minutes and when 1 minute remains. You are allowed to ask the judge questions and talk to each other at any time.

 

Supplies:

For Team: 1 piece of paper, 1 piece of aluminum foil, 6 straws, 1 cup, 30 toothpicks, 1 pencil, 1 paper bowl, 1 cube of clay, 2 paper clips, 1 piece of string 3”, 3 cotton swabs, 1 plastic fork.

For Judge: A table, 2 rectangular blocks of the same size, Tape measure

 

Set-up:

Place two blocks on the table.

 

Rules: 

  1. The first group will build a bridge as long as possible that rests on the two blocks.

  2. The second group will build a structure as tall as possible that rests on the bridge

  3. Once you are in a building group, you cannot switch.

  4. When being measured for score, no team member can touch either structure.

  5. The bridge can only touch the two blocks.

  6. The tower must rest only on the bridge - it isn’t allowed to touch the blocks.

  7. The teams will indicate when ready for scoring.

  8. Competition is over when the team asks to be scored or when time ends.

Scoring:

1 point for each inch of your tall structure’s height.

1 point for each inch of your bridge’s length.

1 to 10 points for the creativity of your solution.

1 to 15 points for how well you work together.

Debriefing:

Would it have been better to focus on height or length?

Build together, or apart and then assemble?

Did the team use materials effectively?

What would you do differently if you did it again?

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Bucket Choice

Your challenge is to move as many  balls as you can into a bucket.

Time:

You will have 8 minutes to solve the problem. You will be warned when 2 minutes and when 1 minute remains. You are allowed to ask the judge questions and talk to each other at any time.

 

Supplies:

For Team:

10 ping pong balls, 10 golf balls, and 5 tennis balls.

1 yard stick, 1 piece of string 12", 1 small piece of cardboard, 1 mailing label, 1 cup, 2 soup cans, 1 water bottle, and 2 pieces of paper.

For Judge: A bucket, masking tape

 

Set-up:

Place a line of masking tape 4 feet away from the bucket

 

Rules: 

  1. When moving a ball, team members must be completely behind the launch line.

  2. There are materials for you to use to move the balls. Nothing else may be used.

  3. You may choose to flip the bucket on its side, but you must do this before you launch the first ball. If you flip the bucket on its side, it must stay that way the entire time. Likewise, if you leave the bucket upright, it must remain that way until time ends.

  4. You may not alter the setup in any other way.

Scoring:

Ping-pong balls are worth 1 point, golf balls are worth 2 points, and tennis balls are worth 3 points.

Each ball in the bucket, if the bucket is on its side, will receive the point value of the ball

Each ball in the upright bucket will receive double the points value of the ball

1-20 points for the creativity of how the balls are moved

1-20 points for how well the team works together

Debriefing:

Would it have been better to place the bucket on its side or leave upright?

Was ball choice effective?

Did the team use materials effectively?

What would you do differently if you did it again?

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Rube plays Tee-Ball
Your challenge is to create Rube Goldberg machine that can knock a ball off a Tee.

A Rube Goldberg machine is a complex device with multiple parts that can complete a simple task. After the device is set up, it is triggered so that eventually after a number of steps, the it will complete the final task.

Time:

You will have nine minutes to solve this problem. You may ask the judge questions at any time; however, time will continue.

You will be scored at the end of eight minutes or when the team asks to be scored.

 

Supplies:

For Team:

1 golf ball

3 paper cups, 5 dominos, 4 straws, 5 marbles, 5 rubber bands

3 pins, 10 mailing labels, 5 popsicle sticks, 1 matchbox car

For Judge:

A tennis ball

A cardboard tube from a toilet roll

Duct tape

 

Set-up:

Duct tape the tube, standing upright, to one end of a table. Set the tennis ball on top of it.

 

Rules: 

  1. You may use only the materials provided in your solution.

  2. When the team decides to test their machine for score, they will inform the judges, and one team member will set off the machine by releasing the golf ball.

  3. When testing the machine for score, team members may not touch the machine during the interval between the releasing of the golf ball and the tipping of the tennis ball. If the team touches the machine while it is operating, they must restart the attempt.

  4. You may attempt to run the machine as many times as you wish; however, only the last attempt will be scored.

Scoring:

20 points if the machine successfully knocks the tennis ball off of the tube:

1-40 points for the complexity of the machine:

1-20 points for the percentage of the materials used (100% = 20pts):

1-20 points for how well the team works together

Debriefing:

Would it have been better to use all the materials or focus on certain ones?

Was there adequate complexity?

Did the team use materials effectively?

Did the team manage time well?

What would you do differently if you did it again?

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How far Can you go?
Your challenge is to build a device that will be used to get an empty soda can to travel the greatest distance possible.

This is a two-part problem.

In part one, you will build a device from the materials provided.

In part two, you will present your solution to the problem.

 

You may ask questions during your think time, however, time continues. Once time begins, it will not be stopped.

 

When time starts in part two, only the team’s longest distance will be recorded. You may try as many attempts as possible during the 2 minutes in part two.

Time:

In part one, you will have 6 minute to build a device that will be used to get an empty soda can to travel the greatest distance possible.

In part two, you will have 2 minutes to present your solution to the problem.

Supplies:

For Team:

One plastic shopping bag with the following items inside:

Empty soda can, large paper or plastic plate, 10 toothpicks, 4 plastic straws, 1 balloon, 2 plastic spoons

1 large Styrofoam cup, a tape measure, 6" square of contact paper, 1 sheet of plain paper, 1 business size envelope, a small bottle of glue, two rubber bands, a pair of scissors.

 

Rules: 

  1. No human power may be used to move the empty soda can forward.

  2. You may not move the empty soda can by direct or indirect human power. i.e. the empty soda can and the device must be at rest when released.

  3. You may use only the items provided.

Scoring:

1 point for each inch travelled.

Debriefing:

Would it have been better to focus on linear distance or actual distance traveled?

Could you have altered the soda can?

Did the team use the the plastic bag and the tape measure?

Did the team use materials effectively?

Did the team manage time well?

What would you do differently if you did it again?

High Ball

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Your problem is to support any of these balls as high above the floor as you can, using only the materials provided.
Set Up

Tape a 36" x 36" square about 18" from the wall.

Supplies:

One ping pong ball, one tennis ball, and one golf ball

A pair of scissors and the following materials:

2 sheets plain paper

6 mailing labels

3 plastic cups

4 paper clips

1 paper plate

1 string, 12"

3 pipe cleaners

10 straws

10 toothpicks

Procedure

You have 10 minutes to create a solution. You will be warned when there are 3 minutes, 2 minutes and 1 minute and when there are 30 seconds left. You may ask the judges questions and talk to each other at any time; however, time will continue.

 

You will use these materials to solve the problem. The scissors cannot be part of your solution. You will be given a ping-pong ball, tennis ball and a golf ball.

 

The ball will be measured from where it rests when time ends or when the teams asks for it to be measured.

 

There is a taped square on the floor. Your solution cannot touch anything other than the floor within the square.

 

You may stop and be scored before time ends; however, once you say you want to be scored, you cannot touch your solution again.

Scoring

Your solution will be measured from the floor to the top of the ball that it supports.

If it supports the ping-pong ball, you will receive 1 point for each inch

For the tennis ball, you will receive 2 points per inch

For the golf ball, you will receive 3 points per inch.

 

You will also receive:

1 to 15 points for how well you work together

1 to 15 points for the creativity of your solution.

Debriefing

Would it have been better to focus on height with a lighter ball, or use a heavier ball?

Could the balls have been altered?

Was the structure well designed for its task?

Did the team use materials effectively?

What would you do differently if you did it again?

Stack-em!

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Your problem is to use the objects in the bins to make stacks of objects on the table.
Set Up

Label 4 bins with the appropriate point values and place the following items inside:


1 point bin: 3 coins, 3 blocks, 5 Popsicle sticks
3 point bin: 1 fork, 2 spoons, 3 jacks
5 point bin: 3 golf balls, 2 marbles, 2 ping pong balls
10 point bin: 1 stuffed animal, 1 medium-sized toy car.

Place the bins in the center of the table

Procedure

You will have 8 minutes to solve the challenge.

 

The judge will warn you when 2 minutes and when 1 minute remains. You are allowed to ask the judges questions and talk to each other at any time.

 

There are objects to use to create your solution (point to bins of objects).

You are not allowed to use the bin or anything else and you are not allowed to damage the objects.

 

Your problem is to use the objects to make stacks of objects on the table.

 

You may ask to be scored at any time. Competition is over when you ask to be scored or when time ends.

When checking for score:
No one can touch the objects.
Each object on the stack is worth the value marked on its bin.

Any object touching the table will not count for score.
You are not allowed to make stacks anywhere but on the table.

 

Scoring

You will receive the point value of each object in a stack that is not touching the table.

You will receive 1 to 10 points for the creativity of your solution.

You will receive 1 to 15 points for how well you work together.

Debriefing

Would it have been better to make multiple stacks or only a few?

Was the point value of items considered when designing stacks?

Was risk and reward balanced?

Did the team use items effectively?

What would you do differently if you did it again?

Shoe shuffle

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Your challenge is to pair up all of the shoes, without speaking.
Set Up

Tape a 5-foot line on the floor.

Place 5 pairs of shoes on the floor. Make sure that you shuffle up the pairs and have them some distance from each other. Mix up the shoe types. Try to have a pair of high heeled shoes, a pair of flip flops, sneakers, etc. Mix up the distances from the line so that you have some close and some further away.

Mark one pair with yellow dots and another pair with red dots.

The red dot shoes should be the furthest from the line.

Give each team the following items: 1 broom, 1 piece of string 12”, 1 piece of cardboard, 3 plates, 2 cups, 1 yard stick, 5 unsharpened pencils, 1 piece of yarn 12”, 1 frisbee, and 2 socks.

Procedure

Behind the line, there are several shoes that have been separated from their matching shoe.

 

Your challenge is to move the shoes so that they are paired up with the matching shoe.

 

To be considered paired-up, the shoes must be touching each other.

You have been given materials to move the shoes; you may not use anything else.

You may not talk while solving the challenge.

When moving the shoes, you must be behind the line. You may not change the setup.

The shoes with yellow dots on them must remain in contact with the floor while you are moving them. If a shoe loses contact with the floor, that pair of shoes will be out of play and you may not receive score for them.

The shoes with red dots on them must both be moved behind the line before being paired up.

You have 8 minutes to solve this challenge.

Scoring

Each pair of shoes is paired correctly: 10 points

The pair of shoes with the yellow dots is paired without leaving the floor: 15 points

The pair of shoes with the red dots is paired behind the line: 15 points

Creativity of how the shoes are moved: 1-15 points

How well the team works together: 1-15 points

Penalty -5 points each time a member of the team speaks.

Debriefing

Would it have been better to make a single device or more than one?

Did only the shoes with yellow dots have not to leave the floor?

Was the point value of tasks considered when tackling the challenge?

Was non verbal communication used effectively?

Were team member tasks and responsibilities sorted out clearly?

Did the team use items effectively?

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