Sonoma County Office of Education

2020 Alternative Robotics Challenge

2020 Alternative Robotics Alternative

The 2020 Sonoma County Robotics Challenge has been cancelled due to the COVID 19 pandemic and students do not have access to Lego Mindstorm robot sets. Despite this, students still have interest 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. K-8 students are invited to explore options and submit entries for any of the options below:

  • Free Form: 2020- Perfect Vision for the Future
  • Rube Goldberg Creation
  • Virtual EV3 Lego Mindstorm Simulator

Students may submit entries for any of the challenges below. You don’t have to do them all.


Free Form: “20-20: Perfect Vision for the Future”

Students can build using physical items (Construct & Design) -or- virtual objects (Programming) creating exhibits that focus on this year’s theme: “20-20: Perfect Vision for the Future”

Construction & Design Opportunities

Use loose items you find around the house (eg. cardboard, empty containers, Legos , wood, plastic, styrofoam, etc) to combine, create and build expressing a “20-20: Perfect Vision for the Future”

Take photographs and/or video tape your submission. Write up a description of your entry and share how it expresses your idea.

Programming Options

Use any of the following virtual environments to construct a “20-20: Perfect Vision for the Future”:

  • Scratch - Program using the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Scratch program. Scratch is a free project of the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab. Setup backgrounds, add sprites, animations and sound to share your ‘20-20: Perfect Vision for the Future"
  • Minecraft - Build in creative mode using Mojang’s popular Minecraft game. Use blocks, characters and other resources to create a utopia offering your "20-20: Perfect Vision for the Future"
  • Video tape your submission using Screencast-o-matic or other screen capture tool. Write up a description of your entry and share how it expresses your idea.

Rube Goldberg Creation

Use materials around the house to demonstrate a chain reaction. How many different items can you involve? What is the goal you’re seeking to achieve (eg. catch a monster, turn on a light, ring a bell, etc)?

Check out this YouTube videos to see an example of what’s possible:

Audri’s Rube Goldberg Monster Trap

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


Virtual EV3 Lego Mindstorm Building & Programming

Although most students do not have access to physical robots at this time, there are virtual options for building and programming. The Virtual Robotics Toolkit (VRT) provides an EV3 Lego Mindstorm computer, custom design tools, sensors, the EV 3 Labview programming environment, and various fields for action. VRT is offered free in a 30 day trial period.

Students are challenged to build & program with VRT using the “Apartment Clean-up” field. How many Lego pieces can your creation autonomously ‘vacuum’ in a one minute time period?

Video tape your submission using Screencast-o-matic or other screen capture tool. Include a copy of your EV3 program to be considered for the Genius Programmer award.


Commendations

The Alternate 2020 Robotics Challenge has ended. All entries displayed ‘Excellence in Extraordinary’ circumstances. Here are submissions from each category that were selected by reviewers for sharing:

Rube Goldberg Machines

Free Form: 20-20 Perfect Vision for the Future

Virtual EV3- Apartment Cleanup

Award Recipients

  • Grand Gear Head Award: Best example of mechanical design and function to demonstrate the theme, 20-20 Perfect Vision for the Future: Seena Banwait - Marguerite Hahn Elementary
  • Genius Programmer Award: Entry which demonstrates the best use of programming: Gavin Rosebaugh - Cali Calmecac
  • Rube Goldberg Award: ‘Machine’ that best accomplishes a goal in the Rube Goldberg spirit of chain reactions: Amelia Wickersham - Healdsburg Jr High & Kenyon Wanous- American Leadership Academy
  • Picasso Award: Entry that best demonstrates a combination of art, style and function in their submission: Ronin Spaeth - Gravenstein Elementary

Contacts

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