Sonoma County Office of Education

Student Robotics Challenge Returns as In-Person Event on April 30

04/22/2022 -

More than 200 elementary and middle school students from grades 4-8 will show off their problem-solving skills in the Sonoma County Robotics Challenge from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, April 30, at Elsie Allen High School in Santa Rosa. This is the first time the event has been held in-person since 2019.

Student teams from 16 schools will compete in eight events that require skill in design and programming with autonomous robots.

This year’s challenge events include:

  1. King of the Hill
    This contest matches two robots climbing a hill to occupy a space at the top that is only large enough for one. The robot in the top space at the end of one minute is "King of the Hill."
  2. Gone Fishing
    Gone Fishing is a new mechanical event for 2022. Contestants develop a means of capturing and transferring Lego “fish” from one area to another in the shortest amount of time.
  3. Off Road Racing
    Off Road Racing involves a 16-foot long course with obstacles placed at different intervals. Teams design robots able to overcome the barriers, stay on track, and finish in the shortest time.
  4. Sumo
    Robot sumo wrestling engages two robot contestants in trying to push each other out of a 3-foot circular ring. The first robot to touch the floor outside of the ring loses. The last robot remaining in the ring wins.
  5. Bull in a China Shop
    This challenge uses a 3-foot circular ring with 10 items of different sizes and weights scattered throughout the ring. Teams have the task of creating a robot that will be able to push all 10 items out of the ring in the shortest time possible.
  6. Robotics Triathlon
    The Robotics Triathlon asks participants to create an “Olympian”-like robot that will traverse an obstacle course, follow a line, and finally drop a ping-pong ball in a specific location in the shortest time possible.

Students prepare for the Sonoma County Robotics Challenge between January and April, during which time they design, build, and code robots.

The Sonoma County Office of Education partnered with local schools and the Sonoma County Economic Development Board to create this program, which is now in its 19th year. The goal of the partnership is to engage elementary and middle school students in applying mathematics, science, engineering, critical thinking, teamwork, and oral presentation skills through robotics activities.

Adele Harrison Middle School, American Leadership Academy, Austin Creek Elementary School, Healdsburg Junior High, Hillcrest Middle School, Gravenstein Elementary School, Kenwood School, McNear Elementary School, Mill Valley Middle School, Petaluma Accelerated at McKinley School, Sonoma Country Day School, Spring Lake Middle School, St. Francis Solano School, and Steele Lane Elementary School are participating in the 2022 challenge.

To view a video recap of the 2019 event, click here.

Learn more about the Sonoma County Robotics Challenge by visiting