Problem 1: Longshot Solution

STEUART WELLER ELE SCH, Leesburg, VA 43076 Division 1

The team’s solution made the judges laugh multiple times at this visit to the dentist! The solution started with a team member in a custom-built dental chair. During the procedure we are able to see what’s happening inside the patient’s mouth with set pieces constructed to create a giant open mouth. Say “Ahhhh”!! Crossovers in perspective saw prop teeth ‘extracted” from the set to become a required obstacle for the vehicle to overcome. The team’s design and creation of a dental device to save the world was ingenious. The device served brilliantly to integrate the reaction into the solution to the Problem. A creative dance routine also enhanced the team’s theme: “Floss, floss, baby!”

Warwick Valley Middle School, Warwick Valley, NY 13158 Division 2

This team’s presentation showed how the loss of color is disastrous for the world. Adventures to the Louvre, Shakespeare’s Garden, and the Amazon Rain Forest were highlighted using cardboard cutout pavers on garden paths, origami leaves and flowers, and décor with paintings with ornate frames designed with painted pasta. The vehicles included a colorful bee powered by a redesigned measuring tape with moving legs causing it to appear to walk, an amazon bird with colorful feathers made  of painted popsicle sticks on cardboard, and a snail of carved foam. The Longshots restored color with their Arm & HammerTM Baking Soda special effect where flowers blossomed, bushes appeared, and pictures in the Louvre and the Rainforest life regained color.

SHERBURNE EARLVILLE HIGH SCH, Sherburne-Earlville, NY 27017 Division 3

This team demonstrated exceptional creativity and risk taking in creating a countdown clock made of a series of beautiful colored origami flowers which folded and disappeared, representing progressive damage to the environment. The Longshot Solution reversed the destruction by mixing Arm and HammerTM baking soda with other chemicals to create a reaction that powered an array of pneumatic pistons and a cantilevered lifting platform to reverse the flower’s demise, pushing them up, unfolding them and making them bloom again.

Problem 2: Net Working

Thornebrook Elementary School A, Ocoee, FL 43339 Division 1

This team’s attention to detail and its out-of-this-world enthusiasm rocked the Galaxy and the judges! The seamless solution was filled with surprises, some obvious, some hidden. These are risk takers created unique devices including a helium powered gondola, a boat floating along a true milky way and a homemade robot rover with ultrasonic cutoff for the Malware’s work. Their beautiful performance was based on the four classic elements of the western world: earth, water air, and while there was no actual fire they lit up their audience of judges. Messages flew through “outer space” as Pluto took its revenge for being thrown out of the Planet Club! The final surprise were home-made instruments including an electric slide with tunable strings, a guitar pickup, and an internal amplifier.

Dolley Madison Library, McLean, VA 46496 Division 2

This team showed exceptional risk-taking and creativity in their engineering of all three segments of their network device. Each segment of the device employed multiple mechanisms and energy sources to transmit the information seamlessly from one segment to the next with no team member involvement. Each segment was designed with a multi-step process that activated the following segment, separate from the transfer of the message. Information hovered in the air over the fairy godmother’s magic wand, rushed down the seven dwarves’ mine shaft in a magnet-driven cart, and flew when Robin Hood’s “bow and arrow-plane” was launched. 

World Language Academy Gainesville, GA 37942 Division 2

Outstanding creativity was used to engineer a functional Dr. Seuss-like device that fit into the fictional world of Genzy Point. Using counterweights and a complex pulley system to propel the message where it unexpectedly drops an old shoe from the clouds. Then the message sails between two buildings where it is received by a colorful spinning hard drive. A series of motors, including an old ice cream machine motor, sends the message up a 120-degree incline through the suburbs where it is extended by an arm in a forklift like motion and received.

Cherokee Bluff High School Team, Flowery Branch, GA 46349 Division 3

These bounty searching buccaneers expertly designed and crafted a 15-foot wooden sailing vessel outfitted with an officer’s berth deck, main deck, quarterdeck, and two of the three required network components. Their details included cannons with functional doors, intricate ship railings, ladders, flag, gang plank and rum barrel. The engineering, execution and attention to detail demonstrated by the construction of this ship amazed and delighted the entire judging team.

Problem 3: Classics… The Effective Detective

Charlton Height, Ballston Lake, NY 5462 Division 1

The team’s engineering system used color coded ribbons attached to a complex pulley and gear system that seamlessly changed the setting. The first had limbs dropping off the trees, the second had the trees on fire, and for the third the fire was extinguished. They also engineered a deer costume that showed realistic hind leg movement.

ELSA MEYER ELEMENTARY SCHOOL Morrice, Michigan 19270 Division 1 Spontaneous

The team took a significant risk by using third party narrators to describe the sounds that made the Narrator Happy, not necessarily the team member; for instance, one response was “Einstein would wake up and hear the sound of math being done on a teacher’s board”.

East Rockford Middle Sch A, Rockford, MI 31852 Division 2

The team sourced materials from nature and used them in a multitude of create ways. In all, the over 253,000 individual leaves, pieces of moss, and branches were used to make a dragon, costumes, creative artwork, a magical forest, and a startlingly realistic representation of the Tunguska Event. This Broadway worthy performance took you to a magical world where dragons and fairies roam the Earth.

Problem 4: Balsa Limbo

QUEEN OF ANGELS CATHOLIC SCH, Roswell, Georgia 34852 Division 2

This team caught the long-term judges’ eyes with a larger than life popup book that combined artistry with engineering. In fact, it was larger than the team members! When the book was opened it created a castle setting. When the page was turned the setting changed to mountains at the end of a field. Team members did not physically manipulate the setting other than turning the pages. The weigh-in judges were amazed at the team’s structure. Many teams developed structures that “folded” sides together, but this structure had a tongue-in-groove design allowing them to snap into place.

GUHUA MIDDLE SCHOOL, China 41992 Division 2

The team showed exceptional creativity with a team-created countdown timer that used mechanical switches that transferred rotating motion to linear motion. The numbers on the front of the countdown timer were created using 7 panels of light weight wood, 3 horizontals and 4 verticals, similar to an old digital clock. The cams only rotate in one direction and were synchronized to open or close the panel pieces to successfully count down from 9 to 0. The horizontal panels use gravity rather than an elastic band to return it to the visible position. You will never view a timer the same after seeing team’s solution!


The judges were awed at the creativity, artistry, and detail of team’ balsa wood character. Its construction used carefully built balsa gears and wheels, a variety of joints, and other shapes to make it look human. It sprang to life by lighting up and dancing all controlled electronically. As the team traveled though time and around the world, the judges were treated to an Egyptian dance, a Mongolian flag dance, a tango, and a Russian Cossack dance. All were meticulously executed and synchronized to synthesized music.

Problem 5: Gibberish or Not

Pocahontas Junior High School, Pocahontas, AR 3505 Division 2

Sometimes one element of a performance is so unique, interesting, and impactful that you almost can’t believe it’s real. This team had a backdrop that was simply amazing. It is a backdrop of a castle on a hill but was made from a type of item not usually seen in artwork. Taking a photograph of a castle and creating a very thought out pattern, team members Makenzie Massey and Kenan Odgen hand placed 4800 dice arranged by color and aligning the dots to create lines. Knowing it would cost too much to purchase that many dice they asked for donations of old dice from casinos and a casino that went out of business donated discarded cases of dice to the team. They created their pattern by finding the center of the image and matched it to the center of the surface. The castle background weighs over 100 pounds.

Geneseo Central School, Geneseo, NY 3253 Division 3

This team created a wonderful moving Merry-Go-Round that actually turned and was capable of holding 2 team members. It eventually converted into a Ferris Wheel. They also created a working pipe organ. Both devices showed creativity and ingenuity. Mechanical ability such as this team displayed is not often present in a performance problem. The team also created “mannequins” that helped make it appear the characters were in one place while they were “safe at home.”