Calling all kids in the 3rd, 4th or 5th grades located in the Texoma area. We have a design and engineering challenge for you at the Texoma Mini Makers Faire. Are you up to a challenge? You are eligible if you are enrolled in any public, private, parochial, or home school in the Texoma area.

Teams will be made up of 2 to 4 members. You may be just the leader we are looking for. Maybe you know some good matches. Maybe you are a parent or teacher who knows some smart kids. Please point them this way.

Let’s Take a Peek at the Challenge

The Challenge for our 3rd through 4th grade teams is to safely land a 3 oz. plastic cup with a ping pong ball as cargo that is dropped from a height of one meter. Each team will be judged on their ability.

  • to land the cup upright,
  • make sure the cargo- a ping pong ball stays inside the landing device- a 3 oz plastic cup.
  • The lightness of the device counts significantly also.
cup drop experimental design

This image is for entertainment purposes only. Your entry must be built with the allowable materials within the time constraints.

The competition also includes a presentation phase that includes a design drawing of the device as built, and an oral and written presentation of engineering notes created during the exercise.

And we have great prizes for the winners!

Three teams will win awards for performance- 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place. There will also be a Judges Award for the one team recognized for the best display of  teamwork, design, and creativity.

Teams are encouraged to practice their building and testing skills.

All teams are encouraged to practice building and testing a prototype before the event, but you cannot use your prototype during the event. No, you must create your device during the competition from materials provided with the tools provided in a period of 60 minutes.

Maybe you want to dig further into the Details. Or maybe you are ready to enter. Here is a link to the application form.

Each team will be provided all the tools and materials needed to complete the engineering challenge.

Each Team will be provided with materials that you can alter.

5 meters of masking tape
2 – plastic shopping bags
5  – 3” by 5” index cards
10 cotton balls
1 – 3 ounce plastic cup
5 sheets of paper
5 meters of string
5 plastic straws
5 rubber bands

Each Team will be provided with tools and materials that
cannot be altered.

1 ping pong ball
1 metric ruler
1 copy of challenge instructions
permanent markers
1 pair of scissors
1 pencil
A Team member sign

Let’s take a look at the competition process

Each team has 4 roles to fill. Two or three member teams will obviously double up.

The system engineer will verify that the team designed device has a name, team members have specific roles, and documentation is complete. She or he will work with the rest of the team to develop their presentation for the judges.

The design engineer will lead the overall design and is responsible for including the design drawings in the documentation. She or he will lead the team in developing a strategy to earn maximize points.

The structural engineer will ensure and verify the device follows all requirements.

The launch engineer will drop the device during the performance judging.

Each team will be provided  with the same materials to build their safe landing device. Teams will have 1 hour (60 Minutes) to plan, build, and test their device. Design drawings, notes and documentation will be completed also. At the end of 1 hour, time will be called and construction will stop.

Let’s Check out the Scoring and Evaluation Process

Each team will be called to two judging areas.

In judging Area 1 Each team will meet the presentation judges. Each team system engineer will submit the team’s project documentation forms that were completed during the 1 hour time frame

Judging area 2 is the performance Arena. The team structural engineer will ensure that the team’s device follows all requirements: the launch engineer will drop the device, one time, from the height of 1 meter: the device will be judged accordingly.

Here are some details of the scoring process followed by each judge.

A glimpse at the scoring criteria.

Here is a snapshot of the scoring sheet used by each judge. Click image for larger size. Full details are available through the application process.

Full details of the scoring are inside the entry form.

We want to meet and introduce our teams to your adoring public.

Which means there are restrictions, rights, and releases required to participate.

We will need each participant to allow the use of their name and  photograph and biography for bragging about each of our team members to the rest of the world. The details are in the application form.


This blog post is a chitty chatty version of the official documentation. If there are any discrepancies between what is represented here and the official entry form, you know that this blogger mouth is full of hot air, i.e. wrong.

Please Help Get the Word Out!

So who knows some bright 3rd 4th or 5th graders who would be great candidates for this challenge? Who knows some teachers, babysitters, or big sisters, who know a potential candidate?

Share this and let people know- parents, pets, sisters or brothers, or neighbors. We want Texoma’s best and brightest. We don’t want to leave anyone out. We want to be fair.

Thanks. 🙂

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us.


  • Selina says:

    The Challenge for our 3rd through 4th grade teams is to safely land a 3 oz. plastic cup with a ping pong ball as cargo that is dropped from a height of one meter. Each team will be judged on their ability.

    I want to know what challenge is for fifth grade?

    • southwesterndata says:

      The Challenge is the same for grades 3, 4 and 5! The challenge changes for grades 6-8 and there is a third challenge for grades 9-12. Plus there is the open challenge.

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