Themes & Problems

2016-2017 Competitive Event Themes and Problems


Career Prep

In 2017, students choose one (1) of these careers:

       Environmental engineer
       Cloud infrastructure architect
       Computer repair technician

Children's Stories
Theme: The History of Technology

(Students may choose a device, and do a past, present, and future look at its development; OR, they may choose to do a timeline of how technology has developed over the centuries.)

Digital Photography
Theme: Standing Out from the Crowd

Environmental Engineering
Topic: Engineering the Environment

Essays on Technology
An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is an aircraft that carries no human pilot or passengers. With the increased popularity and use of UAV’s — sometimes called “drones” — the Federal Aviation Administration now requires that they be registered. Students must research all of the following subtopics and be prepared to write an essay on one subtopic that will be designated on site at the conference.

  • The emerging technology of UAV’s, including how they work and what role they might play in the future.
  • The uses of UAV’s, including personal, business, and government
  • The registration of UAV’s, including the need, penalties, and controversies

Geospatial Technology
Click here for the 2016 design brief.

Mass Production
Create and produce a charging station for phones or tablets; three identical copies of the product must fit together in a cube that measures 24 inches x 24 inches x 24 inches. 

Microcontroller Design
Create a product (example: a moisture or air quality sensor) that monitors and reports on environmental conditions. 

Prepared Speech
(Conference) Theme: Defining Your Future

Structural Engineering
Click here for the 2016 challenge. Updated 9/16/15
Click here for the Verification form.

Video Game Design
National TSA conference team entries must be submitted to this link by 11:59 pm PDT on May 15th. Email verification of the entry will be made by June 10th.

Website Design
Click here for the 2016 design brief.
To submit your URL, please use this link:


Develop an animatronic device for an exhibit at a children's museum. 

Architectural Renovation
Click here for the 2016 challenge.
Click here for photographs and information related to the 2016 challenge. Added 10/2/15

Biotechnology Design
Area of focus: Outer space and biotechnology 

Children's Stories
Create a pop-up book, complete with hard book binding, in which the pop-ups illustrate the story

CNC Production
Problem: Fabricate a mechanical bank device that self-deposits pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters; evaluation is based on the number of coins that can be deposited in a two (2)-minute time frame. The theme of the mechanical bank must be inspired by the city and/or state of the national TSA conference site.

Debating Technological Issues
Topic: Required Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) courses for high school students

Subtopic 1: What are the pros and cons of requiring STEM classes for high school students across the nation?

Subtopic 2: Are STEM classes more important than other disciplines/classes (e.g. language arts, history, fine arts) for high school students?

Subtopic 3: Should the successful completion of STEM classes be mandatory for high school graduation? 

Digital Video Production
Theme: Stopping social media bullying

Fashion Design
Click here for the 2016 theme.

Manufacturing Prototype
Product: A device to hold supplies for a person who uses a wheelchair

Photographic Technology
Theme: Humor

Structural Design and Engineering
Click here for the 2016 challenge. Updated 9/23/15; Basic configuration drawing updated 1/7/16
Click here for the Assessment form.

Transportation Modeling
Theme: Motorcycles 

Click here for the 2017 design brief.