Sonoma County Office of Education

2012 Robotics Challenge

Robotics Challenge Logo

Welcome to the official website of the 2012 Sonoma County Robotics Challenge! Here you’ll find event general information and results from the competition.

Date, Time and Place

Saturday, May 5, 2012
9:00am to 2:00pm
Elsie Allen High School
599 Bellevue Avenue
Santa Rosa, CA 95407

2012 Robotics Challenge Program (pdf)
Robot Ravings Newsletter, Spring 2012 (pdf)


Schools competing – 23
Number of teams – 124
Number of coaches – 38
Number of volunteers – 48
Number of students – 294

2012 Event Winners
Bulldozer | St. Francis Solano School
Drag Racing RCX | Kenwood School
Drag Racing NXT | Austin Creek School
Freeform Beginning | Santa Rosa Accelerated Charter School
Freeform Advanced | Austin Creek School
Hit the Brick | St. Francis Solano School
Off Road Racing | Austin Creek School
Sumo RCX | Santa Rosa Accelerated Charter School
Sumo NXT | Austin Creek School

2012 Programming Challenge Award Winners
Best Overall Performance Award | Austin Creek School
Genius Programmer Award | Santa Rosa Accelerated Charter School
Golden Propeller Head Award | Austin Creek School
Grand Gear Head Award | Proctor Terrace School
Teamwork Award | Austin Creek School
Against All Odds Award | St Francis Solano School


Six events were planned for the 2012 Sonoma County Robotics Challenge. Event planners Diane Dai, Dan Exelby, Sally Lewand, Francine Merlonghi, Rick Phelan, and Steven Williams focused on challenges for beginning through advanced users.

Bull Dozer: This event takes place in a 3-foot circular arena with six 8-ounce soda cans filled with sand. Competitors must design robots that detect the cans and bull doze them completely out of the ring. The winning robot is the one that pushes all the soda cans out of the ring in the least amount of time. Bull Dozer (pdf)

Drag Racing: 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. This year’s drag racing competition is open to grade 4-5 students only. Drag Racing Rules (pdf)

Free Form: This year’s event challenges teams to explore the theme of “2012 Olympics” by designing world-class athletic performances for robot(s). Entries will be judged on the robot’s ability to follow action scripts, difficulty of tasks, and adherence to the theme. Participants may choose to enter the Beginning or Advanced competition categories in this event. Free Form Rules (pdf)

Hit the Brick: A variation on last year’s line following event, this activity requires competitors to design robots that will recognize and follow a black line from start to finish and, in the end, hit a brick. The winner completes the course in the fastest time. Hit the Brick Rules (pdf)

Off Road Racing: 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. Off Road Racing Rules (pdf)

Sumo: 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. NXT and RCX robots no larger than 8 inches square can compete for the top award. Sumo Rules (pdf)

Award Descriptions

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.

MacGyver Award for Design Innovation: Awarded to the team whose robot demonstrates the best functional practicality and aesthetic appeal.

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.

Teamwork Award: This award is presented to the team that demonstrates extraordinary enthusiasm and spirit, exceptional partnership, utmost respect to their own teammates, and support and encouragement of other teams.

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.


  • Rick Phelan, Director, Technology for Learners


Questions may be directed to:

  • Rick Phelan, Director, Technology for Learners
Nicole Rosaschi, SCOE Administrative Operations Specialist, Human Resources
"I love that the people I work with are passionate about their work, passionate about our students getting the best possible education, and passionate about Sonoma County. " - Nicole Rosaschi, SCOE Administrative Operations Specialist, Human Resources