The Sonoma County Office of Education is proud to sponsor the Sonoma County Robotics Challenge. Now in its 15th year, this dynamic project engages students in grades 4-8. School teams work on challenges designing, building and programming using Lego Mindstorm Robot Kits. Students learn about coding and apply practices from math, science, and engineering as they prepare for events.
Activities span the months of December through May. December and January are spent building capacity among teachers and volunteers who will work with students at local schools. In early February, challenge events for the year's competition are announced. Challenges are designed for beginner through advanced student competitors. School teams meet once a week from February through April to develop challenge responses. The culminating experience is the Sonoma County Robotics Challenge, where teams come together and compete matching robots and ideas.
This Year’s Event
2017 Sonoma County Robotics Challenge
Saturday, May 6, 2017 at Elsie Allen High School | Directions
599 Bellevue Avenue, Santa Rosa, CA 95407
(707) 528-5020 | Fax: (707) 528-5023
Prior Year Events
2016 Robotics Challenge (11:59)
This YouTube video highlights events from the 2016 competition. Watch here
2015 Robotics Challenge (7:37) | May 2015
Student-built robots race, go over obstacles and accomplish other impressive feats in this video mashup of the 2015 Robotics Challenge. Watch here.
2013 Robotics Challenge (3:31) | Jan 2014
Four student competitions are featured in this short video: Hit the Brick, Bulldozer, Sumo, and Off Road Racing.
2008 Robotics Challenge | May 2008 | Grade 4-8 students designed and built robots using Legos and special programming software, then competed in this innovative student event.
Working with EV3 Mindstorm Sets
This is an excellent set of EV3 video tutorials from Dale Yocum of Stemcentric sharing ideas about Lego's new EV3 smart brick and programming language.
Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy
A comprehensive curriculum for working with students in grades 4-8, the Introduction to Programming Lego Mindstorms EV3 Teachers Guide is offered here.
Working with NXT Mindstorm Sets
This great NXT video tutorial covers all the basics and is good for new coaches and students.
First Lego League NXT-G Programming Guide
This is an excellent PDF resource that shares concepts for programming with the NXT G software.
Projects for NXT 1.0
Here are some free NXT project instructions and programs, including one for Line Following. The site provides opportunities for teams to see projects and learn about programming.
Working with RCX Mindstorm Sets
RCX Building Guide
A detailed construction guide from High Tech Kids in PDF form offering ideas for independent inquiry or small group lessons.
RoboLab Programming Resources
Another good resource from High Tech Kids in PDF form offering information about RoboLab programming.
Lego Projects for Math/Science
Linda Hamilton of Marshall University provides a wide range of lesson plans.
TankBot Instructions (pdf)
What and Where to Buy
Three different robotics kits can be used in the annual challenge competition. One kit features the traditional programmable brick known as the RCX, which Lego discontinued in 2009. It is no longer available for purchase. Another option is the programmable brick known as the NXT. Lego discontinued this version in 2015. A commercial version can still be purchased at some retail stores.
Lego's newest programmable brick is the EV3. Introduced in Fall 2013, this product is growing in use and popularity among schools in Sonoma County.