Sonoma County Office of Education

2022 Sonoma County Robotics Challenge

2020 Robotics Challenge logo

The 2022 Sonoma County Robotics Challenge is set for Saturday, April 30, 2022. K-8 students with interests in mechanical design, robots, coding and STEAM are encouraged to be involved. Participants use Lego building materials to create autonomous robots which can meet the demands of event challenges. This year also includes virtual events with microcontrollers such as the Circuit Playground Express and Micro:bits where students learn about coding/programming.

2022 Sonoma County Robotics Events

Learn about the events in the 2022 Sonoma Robotics Challenge by clicking here. K-8 students can participate in one or more of these events. Individuals, school teams and community groups are invited to participate in this annual event now in it’s 19th year!

Views of the Sonoma County Robotics Challenge

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

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

Challenge Event Robots

Lego Robots are used by event competitors. These products were selected because they have programmable bricks, 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 Spike Prime | This is a new Lego robot rolled out in Fall 2021. It combines colorful LEGO building elements, easy-to-use hardware, and a drag-and-drop coding language based on Scratch. SPIKE has beginner through advanced learning activities that run on computers, tablets and Chromebooks.
  • 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 Lego Robots

Tips & ideas to support efforts:

  • Student learning with robots is achieved by experimentation and hands-on activity. MIT Professor Seymour Papert expressed it best when he said, “...hands-on learning involves making something.that you can identify with and be proud of. What you learn in the process of making things that you care about goes deeper into the subsoil of the brain than what anyone can tell you,”
  • Managing and organizing Lego sets is important. Your system of material management should be understood by students. Best practice involves students sorting and organizing materials during the last 10 minutes of each building session.
  • Lessons/Activities for Lego robots can be found in the software associated with a robot’s controller. Look to develop familiarity with mechanical design and programming through these introductory materials.
  • Startup Guide for working with Lego Mindstorm EV3s

Prior Year Events

2021 Virtual Sonoma County Robotics Challenge

2020 Virtual Sonoma County Robotics Challenge

2019 Robotics Challenge | Results and Description

2018 Robotics Challenge | Results and Description

2017 Robotics Challenge | Results

2016 Robotics Challenge | Results


Event Director/Spokesperson:
Rick Phelan |