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: Hydraulic Fracturing

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 2017 design brief.
Click here for information about the competition.

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
Theme (2017): Defining Your Future

Structural Engineering
Click here for the 2017 challenge. Posted 9/12/16
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 2017 design brief.
To submit your URL, please use this link.


3D Annimation
Click here for the 2017 problem.

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

Architectural Design
Click here for the 2017 challenge.

Biotechnology Design
Area of focus: Vaccines

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

Debating Technological Issues
Topic: Technology in Education
Subtopic 1: Should a fully virtual (online) education program be considered for students in grades K-12? 
Subtopic 2: Should college students earn the same credit for a class taken online, versus one taken on a college/university campus?  
Subtopic 3: In allowing students to use electronic resources – and devices – for conducting research, writing papers, tackling math assignments, or completing group work for class-initiated activities, etc., are students missing out on the development of some intrinsic educational skills?

Digital Video Production
Theme: Digital Citizenship

Dragster Design
Throwback Design Challenge (for the 2017 conference only): TSA is “flashing back” to the late 1970s when the event was called LSRAV (Land Speed Record Assault Vehicle). At that time there were no “shell cars.” For 2017 only, all four (4) wheels must be completely exposed. No part of the vehicle body may cover any part of the front or back wheels.

Engineering Design
Theme: Provide Access to Clean Water 

Fashion Design and Technology
The need to recycle existing fabrics and other materials becomes more important as fresh/new materials become harder to come by and/or less sustainable. The theme for the 2016-2017 school year is recycling in fashion. Teams must use recycled materials to design and create a total of three different prototypes (garments). 

Photographic Technology
Theme: Humor

Structural Design and Engineering
Click here for the 2017 challenge. 
Click here for the Team Verification form.
Click here for the Analysis and Assessment form.

Transportation Modeling
Theme: Motorcycles 

Video Game Design
Participants focus on the idea of their choice, within the context of the 2017 theme: Arcade Games

Click here for the 2017 design brief.