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VEX Competition

Can you see a problem Houston?




  What about in either of these?

Design Challenge 


Your team finds itself in a disastrous situation far from Earth. Due to damage incurred in a recent battle, your mother ship “Enterprise Cape Breton”, has been forced to crash-land on the planet DooDad. In the crash, the nuclear rocket thrust booster tank has been ripped off. There is potential for a nuclear disaster that could set off a catastrophic chain of destruction. This hyper-nuclear reactive container must be carefully collected then transported and dropped into a sort of black whole that leads through to the core of the planet.


Atmospheric conditions make it impossible for human existence except for within the mother ship itself and 2 space stations that already exist on the plant.  Compounded by the dangerous volatile circumstances, a (Mars) Rover scenario is the only chance that you and your team have for survival and saving the planet. Your team must keep their wits about them and construct a robot, with the materials available, that will complete this mission before you and the planet are destroyed. Fortunately, there are 2 manned outposts that will act as vantage points and help your team navigate the operation. Remember, you are trapped in mother ship where you are to build and operate the rover. Unfortunately, you cannot see the task you must complete from the mother ship. Therefore, you must rely on look outs in the outpost space stations to direct you through the task.

This Endeavour will challenge your team building skills, require you to tap on your engineering resources, and your maximize your communication capabilities.

Exercise Requirements are broken into 3 categories:

    <Written aspect- in the form of a research and design portfolio that is broken down below
    <Engineering aspect- the physical development of your remote control vehicle
    <Execution aspect- using the communication and operational skills to perform the desired task

 Design Portfolio

You will find below a design portfolio outline that includes templates to help you prepare the paperwork for this challenge. At the end of the mission, you will pass in a booklet with a proper title page including your team # & name/title, as well as identifying team members. It would be great to incorporate pictures of your vehicle and it's features. The contents within must include: (use this checklist):

          *       1st, Submissions should include assignment of duties. (For example: who is the captain, recorder etc.)
-In each log submission (that is one for each day); everyone is to assume some kind of duty title. Identify duties and assignments as they change or are added, they will show up in the appropriate daily log accounts. For example if someone has to assume someone else’s duties because of absenteeism, or because the evolution of the mission requires new or changing roles)

         2nd In the Special Note section at the bottom, record any discoveries that are made along the way such as program options and why you chose a specific setup. This will help you when doing the evaluation questions.

         3rd In the same section, identify problems and solutions in regards to design, control and/or aesthetic features, or  if and when you borrow any parts from another kit. You will have to record how many of what, and when you requested items that only I am authorized to allot your team. This is to insure proper return and fair play.


Work with your team and your VEX binder:

  •   answer the questions outlined in the ‘research’ section of your design portfolio package.

  • ( Note: with internet access you might do some other research associated with Vex Robots in     the area of design or similar problems that you are trying to resolve). Remember to record the links to credit your sources.

  •  The binder will be your guide as to how to build and wire a base model rov.



  Evidence of Research                                 

 Use your VEX binder to answer the following questions as part of your research for this problem.

 1.   Motion Question (Pg. 3.5)

Express/ illustrate the "gear ratio" used to drive the wheels on your robot.


 2.  Power Question (Pg.  4.7)

At what voltage are the transmitter batteries depleted and therefore you should stop using the transmitter and recharge the batteries?


 3.  Control Question (Pg.  6.15)

      What may happen if the transmitter is not turned on and functioning before the robot is turned on?


4. Trouble Shooting Question (from binder or internet)

    Give 4 examples of typical problem and solution instances not mentioned above that teams may incur during this exercise.

 Evaluation Questions

 1) Did your design solve the problem? Explain.



2) What made it work or not work?



3) What modifications did you make to the design after doing a trial test?



 4) What would you do differently next time?



To make copies of "Captain's Log" sheet, simply highlight the sheet below, and print "selection".


    Captain’s Log


VEX #:         Account of Events

submitted by:









submitted by:









submitted by:





Special Notes:



 Engineering & Construction

Remember that you will be evaluated on your daily input in regards to: care and organization of equipment and team work co-operation and contribution.


Evaluation  (scoring rubric for the VEX Challenge)




Not Quite







Research (Reflective) Evaluation Questions






Sketches & Final Drawing/reasoning






Captain’s Log






 Physical Construction
(secure, aligned, etc)






Over all Design
(effectiveness, complexity, originality)






Programming & Control






Care of kit, Including disassembly






Team Work & Safety







Mission Accomplished??






TOTAL (note that there is potential for bonus pts for experimenting with approved novel designs, or helping the greater good)



_________ + ________ = _________ 



Team Input evaluation will be administered at the end of this exercise.