Sonoma County Office of Education

2021 Robotics Challenge

2020 Robotics Challenge logo

Details related to the 2021 Sonoma County Robotics Challenge are presently being developed. We recognize that a traditional event at Elsie Allen High school is not possible this year. The steering committee has obtained input from school coaches about a virtual event. Key ideas from schools:

  • Students value opportunities to build and create
  • Students would like to have some kind of virtual event
  • No cost/low cost options for participation are needed
  • Students have very limited access to Lego Mindstorm materials
  • On demand training resources and videos are needed

Specific details about the 2021 Virtual Sonoma County Robotics Challenge will be published here on February 5, 2021.

Link to the 2020 Virtual Sonoma Virtual Robotics Challenge- Excellence in the Extraordinary: Due to COVID 19, last year’s 2020 event was virtual. We had three different challenges: Free Form, Rube Goldberg Creation, & Virtual EV3. Check out the event link to see challenge details and award winners.

We hope to resume the Sonoma County Robotics Challenge in the 2021-2022 school year!

Read the Press Democrat Article: Sonoma County Robotics Challenge Showcases Next Generation of Whizzes

2019 Event Video

Catch some of the energy, learning and excitement by viewing this video from the 2019 challenge:

Prior Year Events

2019 Robotics Challenge | Results and Description

2018 Robotics Challenge | Results and Description

2017 Robotics Challenge | Results

2016 Robotics Challenge | Results

Challenge Event Robots

Lego Mindstorm Robots are used by event competitors. This product was selected because it has a programmable brick, open design & construction options, a variety of sensors, learning materials and programming applications that are accessible to beginning through advanced users. An overview of these robots is offered here:

  • Lego Mindstorm EV 3 This is the most popularly used robot set among challenge event competitors. Introduced in Fall 2013, this kit has over 400 Lego elements, including a programmable brick, learning materials, and apps that can run on computers, tablets and Chromebooks.
  • Lego Mindstorm NXT Introduced in 2006, this set was discontinued in 2015. A commercial version can still be purchased at some retail stores. The NXT series is still being used among competitors for beginning and advanced events.
  • Lego Mindstorm RCX This set was introduced in 1998 and discontinued in 2009. It is no longer available for purchase. The software for the RCX programmable brick will not run on newer computers and most schools use this set only for beginning level events.

Working with EV3 Mindstorm Sets

EV3 Tutorial
This is an excellent set of EV3 video tutorials from Dale Yocum of Stemcentric sharing ideas about Lego's new EV3 smart brick and programming language.

Working with NXT Mindstorm Sets

NXT Tutorial
This great NXT video tutorial covers all the basics and is good for new coaches and students.

Projects for NXT 1.0
Here are some free NXT project instructions and programs, including one for Line Following. The site provides opportunities for teams to see projects and learn about programming.

Working with RCX Mindstorm Sets

RCX Building Guide

Robot Plans
TankBot Instructions (pdf)


Event Director/Spokesperson:
Rick Phelan |

Event Coordinator (Logistics and Registration):
Connie Anderson |