Provide hands-on learning to underserved students

by The Tech Museum of Innovation
A few of our young engineers in action...
A few of our young engineers in action...

The Tech Challenge is celebrating 30 years of inspiring, educating and celebrating young engineers in Silicon Valley! The Tech Challenge 2017, presented by Dell: Rock the Ravine — is a challenge inspired by the very first event in 1988! 

This is what 30 years of creativity, teamwork, risk taking, and engineering looks like. 

This year, our young engineers are hard at work designing, engineering and building a device that will move itself from one side of a ravine entirely to the other side. At our showcase event in April, these devices will accomplish this task multiple times.

Stay tuned for additional updates and thank you for your generous support to inspire a new generation of innovators! 


Tech Challenge team in action!
Tech Challenge team in action!

Thank you to everyone who participated, watched, volunteered, contributed or otherwise took part in The Tech Challenge 2016: Taking Flight. It was a spectacular weekend where The Tech’s mission — inspiring the innovator in everyone — took center stage.

We want to give a special thank you to our presenting sponsor, EMC Corporation, whose support enables us to engage more than 2,000 students — a record! — in months of learning about the engineering design process, teamwork, perseverance and more.

If you’d like to know more about the winners, click here.

To find out more about our sponsors, click here.

And we can’t wait to see you next year for the 30th anniversary of The Tech Challenge!


Example of the 2016 Tech Challenge course
Example of the 2016 Tech Challenge course

We're just one month away from the 2016 Tech Challenge, presented by EMC! This signature event held by The Tech Museum of Innovation challenges students to solve real world problems using engineering. 

As we noted in an earlier report, this year's challenge is flight. Nearly 700 teams of students grades 4-12 -- nearly 3000 kids -- have been busy building up to three gliders and one launcher to deliver a payload to a remote location! Gliders will need to navigate around a pylon (representing a weather system) and over a "mountain" before reaching their final destination and dropping their payload on the target (see course photo above). 

For many students, working in teams can help build confidence if they are uncomfortable with STEM topics. Tech Challenge students work in teams, which allows them to bounce ideas off of each other and build on each other’s mistakes and successes. They also learn how to manage difficult decisions with input from different personalities. That’s a skill that will serve them well in any workplace.

We're currently holding test trials weekends here at The Tech, where our young engineers can test and improve their projects before the main event.

The Tech Challenge will be held on April 23 & 24 at the Tech Museum in San Jose. For more information and volunteer opportunities, visit

The 2016 Tech Challenge
The 2016 Tech Challenge

A signature program of The Tech Museum of Innovation, The Tech Challenge is an annual team design challenge for students that introduces and reinforces the science and engineering design process with a hands-on project geared to solving a real-world problem.

The 2016 challenge: Build a glider to deliver supplies to a remote location!
This year, you tell the story! What is your glider carrying? Where are you going? Why?
New award for 2016: Top Tech Challenge story! 
Who: Students in Grades 4-12
What: A team engineering design challenge
Why: To develop creative solutions to a real-world problem
When: Event Days are Saturday, April 23 (Grades 4-6) and Sunday, April 24 (Grades 9-12, Grades 7-8)

Designed to inspire the next generation of Silicon Valley innovators, The Tech Challenge provides months of team learning in science, engineering and math.

The Tech Challenge aligns with Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core State Standards, while reinforcing 21st-century skills including creativity, problem solving, design, teamwork, leadership, presentation, risk-taking, perseverance and learning from failure. This program makes a great experience for classrooms, home schools, after-school programs, extra-credit projects, clubs or friends!

  • Three grade levels: elementary, 4-6; middle school, 7-8; high school, 9-12.
  • Participants collaborate in teams of two to six people.
  • Registration fees are $50 for the entire team.
  • Fees waived for Title I schools and after-school programs.
  • Solutions can be created with common, low-cost materials.
  • There are no prequalifying conditions to enter.
  • Special-needs students are encouraged to enter.

The Tech Challenge reinforces scientific concepts students are learning in school and helps develop 21st Century skills of creativity, problem solving, design, teamwork, leadership, risk taking, perseverance, and learning from failure. This try-fail-learn-try-again approach to innovation is quintessential Silicon Valley.

We thank all of our donors for their support of this important program – you have helped make it possible for us to expand the program to meet its increasing demand from our young innovators!  


This year's event days for The 28th Annual Tech Challenge - Seismic Engineering in Action, Presented by Cisco were amazing! To give you a better idea of how the 2000 students’ months of hard work paid off during the event days that followed, please watch our three minute video.  You will definitely smile and feel the innovative and inspirational energy of their hands-on, team engineering design experience.

Maybe your school is represented in this year’s winners, from 4th Grade through High School!

4th - 6th Grade


Best Overall 1st Place

Tectonic Dudes

Team # 414

Hyde Middle School


Best Overall 2nd Place

Endless Potato

Team # 486


Best Overall 3rd Place

Kung Fu Penguin

Team # 549

Bullis Charter School


Outstanding Engineering Journal

Team #176
Mission Valley Elementary

Science Monkeys
Team # 74

Building Starz
Team # 70
Alexander Rose School


Outstanding Engineering Design Process

The TecTonic Plates

Team # 72



Team # 248

Oak Elementary School

The Tectonic Tortoises

Team # 266



Outstanding Device Performance

Shaken Not Stirred

Team # 571

Schafer Park Elementary School

Tier Fyre

Team # 468

Madera Elementary School

Team Asian

Team # 608

William Sheppard Middle School


Judges Inspiration Award

Presented by Greg Brown


Team # 295

George Miner Elementary


Video Contest: Best Early Video

Presented by ARM

Team Name: Tri-Seismologists

Team: #296


Best Teamwork


Team # 548

Stratford School


Best Team Safety

Niles Tectonix

Team # 437

Niles Elementary School


Best Costume

KLS Construction Warriors

Team # 603

Khan Lab School


Best Sportsmanship

Periodic Coffee Tables

Team # 179

St. Martin of Tours


Most Creative

The Powerpurrfect Girlz!

Team # 94

Group of Friends


Judges Choice 

Evil Gluers

Team # 220

Lincoln Elementary School


Judges Choice  

A and K Modern Inventions

Team # 310

Gardner Bullis Elementary


Judges Choice 

The Flying Pigs

Team # 240

Charter School of Morgan Hill


7th and 8th Grade

Best Overall 1st Place

Power Builders 

Team # 243

Hopkins Junior High School, Gomes Elementary School, Livermore Valley Charter School


Best Overall 2nd Place

SJV Impact

Team # 429

St. John Vianney School


Best Overall 3rd Place


Team # 436

Hyde (Warren E.) Middle School


Outstanding Engineering Journal

Technically Challenged

Team # 276

Castilleja School

Quaker Oats

Team # 484

St. John Vianney 


Team # 214

St. John Vianney School


Outstanding Engineering Design Process

Rubble Rousers

Team # 27

Rancho and Russell Milpitas Middle Schools 

Wind Lords

Team # 231

Warren E. Hyde Middle School

Shock Waves

Team # 304

St. John Vianney School


Outstanding Device Performance

The Quakers

Team # 479


Team # 246

Magnolia Science Academy

The Shockwaves

Team # 465


Judges Inspiration Award

Presented by Greg Brown

The Ring of Fire

Team #661



Video Contest 1st Place

Presented by ARM

Team Name: EarthQuacks

Team #214

School: St. John Vianney


Video Contest 2nd Place

Presented by ARM

Team Name: Rijnorponex

Team #224

School: Ocean Grove Charter School-Homeschool


Best Teamwork


Team # 228

Discovery Charter School


Best Team Safety

{Bad Pun about Earthquakes}

Team # 274

Synapse School


Best Costume

TMNT Engineering Squad

Team # 103

Centerville Junior High School


Best Sportsmanship

Bad News Bears

Team # 186

St. Martin of Tours


Most Creative

Wild Makers

Team # 536

Boys Girls Club of the Peninsula


Judges Choice 

Chowmein Ninjas

Team # 127

Peterson Middle School


Judges Choice 

The Traffic Cones

Team # 203

St. Joseph of Cupertino Elementary School


Judges Choice 


Team # 359


High School

Best Overall 1st Place

Half Moon Bae

Team # 478

Cupertino High School


Best Overall 2nd Place

Girls on Fire

Team # 21

Christa McAuliffe Alums at Monta Vista, Lynbrook and Cupertino High School


Best Overall 3rd Place

Quake Busters

Team # 481

Lynbrook High School


Outstanding Engineering Journal


Team # 626

Cupertino High School and Lynbrook High School


Terraemotus Vici

Team # 565

Carlmont High School

Quake Busters

Team # 481

Lynbrook High School


Outstanding Engineering Design Process

Seismic Xperts

Team # 405

Cupertino High School


Nihil & Co.

Team # 728

Monta Vista High School

Zero K

Team # 302

Cupertino High School


Outstanding Device Performance

Riff’s Raffs

Team # 408

Cupertino High School



Team # 663

Oak Grove High School


Team # 551

Cupertino High School


Judges Inspiration Award

Presented by Greg Brown

The Fault Liners

Team # 221

Saratoga High School


Best Teamwork


Team # 494

Cupertino High School


Best Team Safety

Mischief Managed

Team # 346

Cupertino High School


Best Costume

Duct Tape Towers

Team # 298

Boy Scouts of America


Best Sportsmanship


Team # 435

Cupertino High School


Most Creative

Team Tactical Techtonic Tickles

Team # 321

Wilcox High School


Judges Choice 

The San Andreas Faultliners

Team # 623

Cupertino High School


Judges Choice 

Seismic Survivors

Team # 5

Milpitas High School


Judges Choice

The Quakers

Team # 547

Cupertino High School

Thank you so much for your support of this signature program of The Tech Museum of Innovation!


About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information

The Tech Museum of Innovation

Location: San Jose, CA - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Karen Toste
Director of Annual Fund
San Jose, CA United States

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence


Woman Holding a Gift Card
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.