Sonoma County Office of Education

Technology for Learners

2018 Sonoma County Robotics Challenge Events Announced

Author: Rick Phelan
Published: 02.08.18


Students in grades 4-8 have an opportunity to apply ideas from math, science, and engineering as they respond to challenges in the 2018 Sonoma County Robotics Challenge. Now in its 16th year, this dynamic project engages teams designing, building and programming robots using Lego Mindstorm sets. Competitors create autonomous robots which carry out actions relevant to challenge demands. Challenges for 2018 were released on February 1.  Students can participate in nine event challenges that range in difficulty from beginner through advanced categories. Here is a listing of the 2018 robot challenges:

 Bull in a China Shop | Bull in a China Shop Rules (pdf)
This challenge uses a circular ring with 10 different items placed at various locations in the ring. A single robot has the task of knocking the items out of the ring in the shortest time possible.

Maze Runner | Maze Runner Rules (pdf)Maze Runner asks participants to design and program a robot which successfully navigates a maze from start to finish in the shortest time.

Drag Racing | Drag Racing Rules (pdf)
The objective of this contest is to race your robot on a track that is 16 feet long and beat your opponent to the finish line.

Free Form | Free Form Rules (pdf)
The Free Form event asks teams to explore the theme of “The Olympics.” Competitors create a setting based on the theme and choose eight different tasks for a robot to perform.  Entries are judged on a robot’s ability to follow action scripts, difficulty of tasks, and demonstration of the theme.

King of the Hill | King of the Hill Rules (pdf)This contest matches two robots climbing a hill to occupy a space at the top that is only large enough for one. The robot who is in the top space at the end of one minute is "King of the Hill."

Off Road Racing | Off Road Racing Rules (pdf)
Off Road Racing involves a 16-foot long course with blocks of wood placed at different intervals. The object of this event is to overcome the barriers, stay on track, and finish with the best time.

Sumo | Sumo Rules (pdf)
Robot sumo wrestling engages two robot contestants in trying to push each other out of a circular ring. The first robot to touch the floor outside of the ring loses. The last robot remaining in the ring wins.

Line Following from the Beginning | Line Following from the Beginning Rules (pdf)
Line Following from the Beginning is a timed event challenging participants to create a robot able to track a black line with turns and twists over a 5 foot by 5 foot course in the fastest time.

Construction & Design Museum | Display Rules (pdf)
Students are invited to display their Lego creations in the Construction and Design Museum. This year's theme is focused on the Olympics. To participate, students should build a Lego creation featuring an Olympics theme.



Along with 1st through 4th place awards for each event listed above, the Sonoma County Robotics Challenge offers these award recognitions for teams:

Golden Propeller Head: A trophy is given to the team that best represents the spirit of the games by demonstrating excellence in teamwork, mechanical design, programming, and performance. The trophy is kept at their school until the following year’s competition, when it is handed off to the new team. The team’s name is engraved into a plaque on the side of the trophy.

Grand Gear Head Award for Mechanical Design: Awarded to the team whose robot best demonstrates solid mechanical design and function.

Genius Programmer Award: Awarded to the team that demonstrates the best use of robot programming.

Team Spirit Award: This award goes to the team that most enthusiastically demonstrates a commitment to getting others to see how accessible, fun, and rewarding science and technology can be, especially when you’re part of a great team. Displays chronicling your team’s outreach efforts are encouraged.

Best Overall Robot Performance Award: If your robot is performing ahead of the pack and the high scores are racking up, you are destined to receive this award.

Against All Odds Award: If you walked to the tournament in the rain, barefoot, through a jungle of angry robot-hating gorillas, this award may be for you! The award goes to the team that has come from the back of the pack to demonstrate grace under pressure, while improvising and adapting to overcome all obstacles that have been thrown their way.


Videos from Past Events

The video links offered below provide a sense of the annual competition where students exhibit their programming and design entries:


Additional Information

Additional videos, training materials and other resources for the Sonoma County Robotics Challenge can be found here:

Blog: Technology for Learners