Sonoma County Office of Education

2021 Virtual Sonoma County Robotics Challenge

2020 Alternative Robotics Alternative

Accommodations have been made to the 2021 Sonoma County Robotics Challenge to meet the needs of K-8 students who have interests in mechanical design, robots, coding and STEAM. Planners have assembled alternative challenges below that are safe, fun and promote themes from the traditional event using accessible items. Students are encouraged to explore ideas and submit entries in the following areas:

  • Circuit Playground Express Creations
  • Domino Block Chain Reactions
  • Playing Card Structure Creations

K-8 students may submit entries for any of the activity challenges below.

Event Entry Form

Use this form to submit each challenge entry. Note the form is setup to accommodate one event entry at a time. Participants are encouraged to take part part in as many events as they wish. The deadline for all submissions is April 30, 2021 at 11:59 PM. Awards will be announced on this web page the week of May 17, 2021.

Tips for submission entries:

  • Make sure videos and photos are set for ‘Public Viewing’
  • Use the ‘Written Description’ section of your entry to insure reviewers notice important details

Circuit Playground Express Creations

Adafruit Circuit

Students are invited to program and create using the Adafruit Circuit Playground Express. The Circuit Playground Express is a low cost microcontroller-based electronics and software development board. Additional info on the Circuit Program Express and details on how to get one are shared below.




Beginner Circuit Playground Express Challenges

Project Push Button:

  • Turn on blue NeoPixel
  • Push left button, NeoPixel rainbow chase clockwise direction
  • Push right button, neopixel rainbow chase counterclockwise direction

Project Push Button Elite:

  • Turn on blue NeoPixels
  • Push left button, NeoPixel rainbow chase clockwise direction
  • Push right button, neopixel rainbow chase counterclockwise
  • Clap hands, turn everything off

Play A Song:

  • Turn on blue pulsing NeoPixels
  • When the board senses light (eg. a flashlight is shone on the board) or is touched, the board plays Star Wars, Fur Alice, and NeoPixels switch to steady blue

Play A Song Elite:

  • Turn on using the slide button shows blue pulsing NeoPixels
  • When the board senses light (eg. a flashlight is shone on the board) or is touched, the board plays Star Wars, Fur Alice, and NeoPixels switch to steady blue
  • Use capacitive touch to play seven different tones
  • Slide button turns everything off

Temperature:

  • Color monitor the temperature
  • Put the board in the freezer or in a sunny location to elicit a different color reading

Temperature Elite:

  • Color monitor the temperature
  • Put the board in the freezer or in a sunny location to elicit a different color reading
  • When too hot, play a high pitch
  • When too cold play and low pitch.

Free form:

  • Anything goes- surprise us!

Advanced Circuit Playground Express Challenge

Clock Project

Construct a clock with the Circuit Program Express. The clock will start when one of the buttons on the microcontroller is pressed. NeoPixels will indicate the passage of 10 second time intervals: 10 seconds = 1 NeoPixel, 20 seconds = 2 NeoPixels, 30 seconds= 3 NeoPixels…100 seconds= 10 NeoPixels. Participants can enhance their entry with other elements such as sound or attached accessories which either increase the utility of their clock or demonstrate their artistic abilities.


About the Circuit Playground Express

The Adafruit Circuit Playground Express is a microcontroller equipped to sense the environment around it with motion, temperature, sound and light sensors. Output options include 10 NeoPixel lights and a speaker. A USB port on the Circuit Playground Express is used to connect the device to a computer for power and programming. 14 connection pads allow you to add elements to increase the microcontroller’s input and output functions. Programmable in Microsoft MakeCode, JavaScript, and Python the Circuit Playground works with the Mac, Windows, Linux, Chrome OS.

The Microsoft Make Code environment has a functioning simulator of the Circuit Playground Express. Anything done to program Circuit Playground Express can be simulated in Make Code.

Many tutorials and sample programs are available through Microsoft Make Code and the Circuit Python Library.

Students can purchase the Adafruit Circuit Playground Express starter kit here. A limited number of Circuit Playground Express starter sets are available for borrowing by families who have financial need during this period. Apply to borrow a starter set here.


Domino Block Chain Reactions

Dominoes

Use dominoes and materials around the house to demonstrate a chain reaction. How can you incorporate materials in your chain reaction to delight and intrigue viewers? Note there are no limits on the number of dominoes you can use.

Video tape your submission. Write up a description of your entry and share how it expresses your idea.

Inspiration: How to Build and Topple Dominoes.


Playing Card Structures

Playing Cards

Playing cards provide many options for learning fun. This activity challenges students to build structures with playing cards. There is no limit on the number of cards you can use. No other materials or fasteners are allowed.

Discover building methods with cards that add strength and resilience to your creations. How tall can you build a structure with playing cards? How much weight can your structure hold?

Video tape your submission. Describe important details and other features judges should be mindful of in reviewing your creation.

Inspiration: How to Stack Playing Cards.


Zoom Orientation Opportunities

SCOE will offer Zoom sessions on February 17 and March 1 to introduce students to ideas and information on the 2021 Sonoma Alternative Robotics Challenge. Details on meetings are offered below:

March 8, 2021 at 4:30 PM

March 22, 2021 at 4:30 PM


2021 Virtual Sonoma County Robotics Challenge Awards

Circuit Playground Express Awards

Beginning Challenge Circuit Playground Express Achievement Awards are offered to all students who submit entries given the following criteria:

  • + Bronze Award - one successful challenge submitted
  • + Silver Award - two successful challenges submitted
  • + Gold Award - three or more successful challenges submitted

Grand Gear Head Award for Mechanical Design: Awarded to the individual whose Circuit Playground Express entry best demonstrates solid mechanical design and function with either the beginning or advanced challenges.

Genius Programmer Award: Awarded to the individual whose Circuit Playground Express entry best demonstrates skills to meet the advanced challenge requirements

Domino Chain Reaction Awards

Jaw Dropping Chain Reaction Award: Offered to the entry which best uses dominoes to create a chain reaction that results in a purposeful conclusion which delights and intrigues the viewer.

Picasso Award: Offered to the entry which best uses dominoes to create a chain reaction which demonstrates artistry & creative thinking in the unfolding of either patterns or colors.

Playing Card Structure Awards

Skyscraper Award: Awarded to the builder who creates the tallest playing card structure without fasteners or glue.

Hercules Award: Offered to the builder who creates a playing card structure which best exhibits structural integrity to support weight without fasteners or glue.

Frank Lloyd Wright Award: Offered to the builder who creates a playing card structure that best connects with the natural environment without fasteners or glue.


Contacts

Event Director/Spokesperson:
Rick Phelan | rphelan@mac.com