To address the annual design challenge, participants exhibit and
demonstrate their knowledge of mechanical and control systems by creating an animatronic device with a specific purpose (i.e., communicate an idea, entertain, demonstrate a concept, etc.) that
includes sound, lights, and an appropriate surrounding environment (a display).
In response to the annual design challenge, participants develop a set of
architectural plans and related materials, and construct both a physical and computer-generated model to accurately depict their design. Semifinalists deliver a presentation and participate in an
Participants use digital audio technology to create original content for
a podcast piece that addresses the annual theme. The podcast must feature high level storytelling techniques, voice acting, and folly sound effects; the full entry must include documentation of the
podcast development process and elements. Semifinalists participate in an interview.
Participants select a contemporary biotechnology problem that addresses
the annual theme and demonstrates understanding of the topic through documented research, the development of a solution, a display (including an optional model or prototype), and an effective
multimedia presentation. Semifinalists deliver a presentation and participate in an interview.
Board Game Design
Participants develop, build, and package a board game that focuses on a
subject of their choice. Creative packaging, and the instructions, pieces, and cards associated with the pilot game will be evaluated. Semifinalists set up the game, demonstrate how the game is
played, explain the game’s features, and discuss the design process.
Participants take a parliamentary procedure test to qualify for the
semifinal round of competition. Semifinalists conduct an opening ceremony, items of business, parliamentary actions, and a closing ceremony.
In response to the annual theme, participants create an illustrated
children’s story of artistic, instructional, and social value, and submit documentation related to the development of the physical storybook. Semifinalists read their story aloud and participate in
Participants take a test, which concentrates on aspects of coding, to
qualify for the semifinal round of competition. Semifinalists develop a software program – in a designated amount of time – that accurately addresses an onsite problem.
Computer-Aided Design (CAD), Architecture
Participants use complex computer graphic skills, tools, and processes to
respond to a design challenge in which they develop representations of architectural subjects, such as foundation and/or floor plans, and/or elevation drawings, and/or details of architectural
ornamentation or cabinetry. The solution to the design challenge and participant answers in an interview are evaluated.
Computer-Aided Design (CAD), Engineering
Participants use complex computer graphic skills, tools, and processes to
respond to a design challenge in which they develop three-dimensional representations of engineering subjects, such as a machine part, tool, device, or manufactured product. The solution to the
design challenge and participant answers in an interview are evaluated.
Data Science and Analytics
Participants identify a societal issue, collect or compile data from
various sources about the issue, and then produce documentation and a digital scientific poster about their findings. Semifinalists create a synopsis and digital visual representation of a data set
provided in an onsite challenge.
Debating Technological Issues
Participants research the annual topic and subtopics and prepare for a
debate against a team from another chapter. Teams are instructed to take either the pro or con side of a selected subtopic, submit a summary of references, and use their research to support their
assigned position. The quality of a team’s debate determines semifinalists and finalists.
Digital Video Production
Participants develop and submit a digital video and a documentation
portfolio (including such items as a storyboard, script, summary of references and sources, and equipment list) that reflects the annual theme. Semifinalists participate in an interview.
Participants design, draw, and construct a CO2-powered dragster that
adheres to specifications, design and documentation requirements, and the annual theme. Semifinalists compete in a double-elimination race and participate in an interview.
Drone Challenge (UAV)
Participants design, build, assemble, document, and test fly an
open-source Unmanned Arial Vehicle (UAV) according to the stated annual theme/problem specifications. The required documentation portfolio must include elements such as a photographic log, wiring
schematics, and a description of the programming software used. Semifinalists participate in an interview.
Participants develop a solution to an annual theme that is based on a
specific challenge noted by the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) in its compilation of the grand challenges for engineering in the 21st century. The solution will include a documentation
portfolio, a display, and a model/prototype. Semifinalists deliver a presentation and participate in an interview.
Essays on Technology
Participants are given two hours to write a research-based essay – with
citations – using an essay prompt and two (2) or more sources provided onsite. The essay must include insightful thoughts about the current technological topic presented in the prompt.
Participants select a technology-related or TSA topic from among three
topic cards and prepare and give a three-to-five-minute speech that communicates their knowledge of the chosen topic. The quality of the speech determines advancement to the semifinalist level of
competition, for which an identical competition procedure is followed to determine finalists.
Fashion Design and Technology
To address the annual theme, participants demonstrate expertise in
fashion design principles by creating a wearable garment, garment patterns, and a documentation portfolio. Semifinalist teams present their garment designs (worn by team models), discuss the design
process with evaluators, and respond to interview questions.
Participants design, build, fly, and adjust (trim) a rubber-band powered
model aircraft to make long endurance flights inside a contained airspace. Documentation (including elements such as attributes of the model design, drawings, and an analysis of the trim
modifications), an inspection of the model and the required model flight box, and official times for two flights are aspects of the evaluation.
Participants take a test of basic forensic science to qualify for the
semifinal round of competition. Semifinalists examine a mock crime scene and demonstrate their knowledge of forensic science through crime scene analysis, with the findings synthesized in a written
Future Technology Teacher
Participants research a developing technology, prepare a video showing an
application of the technology in the classroom, and create a lesson plan/activity that features the application and connects to the Standards for Technological and Engineering Literacy (STEL), as
well as STEM initiatives and integration. Semifinalists demonstrate the lesson plan and answer questions about their presentation.
To address the issue presented in an annual theme, participants interpret
geospatial data and develop a digital portfolio containing maps, data, and pertinent documentation. Semifinalists defend their projections and visual infographic during a
Participants design, fabricate, and use Computer Integrated Manufacturing
(CIM) to create a product that addresses the annual theme. A documentation portfolio and the completed product prototype are submitted for evaluation. Semifinalists give a product “sales pitch” and
Participants produce an original musical piece designed to be played
during the closing session of the national TSA conference. The quality of the musical piece and required documentation (including elements such as a plan of work, self-evaluation, and a list of
hardware, software, and instruments used) determines advancement to the semifinal level of competition, during which semifinalist participants are interviewed.
On Demand Video
Once participants receive the challenge details (required criteria, such
as props and a line of dialogue) at the national TSA conference, they have 36 hours to produce a 60-second film that showcases video skills, tools, and communication processes. The quality of the
completed video production determines the finalists.
Participants produce a photographic portfolio - demonstrating expertise
in photo and imaging technology processes - to convey a message based on the annual theme. Semifinalists have 24 hours to complete a portfolio of photos (with required documentation) taken onsite at
the national TSA conference. Finalists are determined based on the quality of the semifinal portfolio, the portfolio presentation, and interview responses.
Participants deliver a three-to-five-minute oral presentation related to
the current national TSA conference theme. Both semifinalists and finalists are determined based on the quality of the presentation and the appropriate use and content of the accompanying required
Participants use computerized graphic communications layout and design
skills to produce a promotional resource packet. The resource must address the annual theme/problem and include at least four printed publication items and required documentation. Semifinalists
demonstrate publishing competency in an onsite technical design challenge.
Senior Solar Sprint
The Senior Solar Sprint (SSS) competition is managed by TSA. Students
apply scientific understanding, creativity, experimentation, and teamwork to design, build, and race a model solar vehicle that carries a payload; documentation of the process is required. Students
must register on Cvent to participate and begin the SSS journey.
Participants use their knowledge of cutting-edge technologies, algorithm
design, problem-solving principles, effective communication, and collaboration to design, implement, test, document, and present a software development project of educational or social value. Both
semifinalists and finalists are determined based on the quality of the presentation and project.
Structural Design and Engineering
Participants apply the principles of structural engineering to design and
construct a structure that complies with the annual challenge. An assessment of the required documentation and the destructive testing of the structure (to determine its design efficiency) determine
both semifinalists and finalists.
System Control Technology
Participants develop a solution to a problem (typically one from an
industrial setting) presented onsite at the conference. They analyze the problem, build a computer-controlled mechanical model, program the model, demonstrate the programming and mechanical features
of the model-solution in an interview, and provide instructions for evaluators to operate the model.
Participants demonstrate their knowledge of TSA and concepts addressed in
technology content standards by completing an objective test. Semifinalist teams participate in a question/response, head-to-head, team competition.
Technology Problem Solving
Participants use problem-solving skills to design and construct a finite
solution to a challenge provided onsite at the conference. Solutions are evaluated at the end of 90 minutes using measures appropriate to the challenge, such as elapsed time, horizontal or vertical
distance, and/or strength.
Participants research, design, and produce a scale model of a vehicle
that complies with the annual design problem. A display for the model and a documentation portfolio – containing elements such as a description of the vehicle, photographs and commentary detailing
the vehicle production, and technical illustrations – are required. Semifinalists participate in an interview.
VEX Robotics Competition
Participants collaborate on a robotics project in which they build a
robot that incorporates the relationship among STEM fields; the competition culminates in a robot skills challenge that assesses the efficiency and productivity of the robot.
Video Game Design
Participants design, build, and launch an E-rated online video game –
with accompanying required documentation - that addresses the annual theme. Semifinalists participate in an interview to demonstrate the knowledge and expertise they gained during the development of
Virtual Reality Visualization (VR)
Participants use video and 3D computer graphics tools and design
processes to create a two-to-three-minute VR visualization (accompanied by supporting documentation) that addresses the annual theme. Semifinalists deliver a presentation about their visualization
and participate in an interview.
Participants design, build, and launch a website that addresses the
annual challenge. Semifinalists participate in an interview to demonstrate the knowledge and expertise gained during the development of the website.