Middle School Competitive Events

Below is a summary of the 2019 and 2020 middle school-level TSA competitive events which will be run at the 2020 Washington TSA State Conference. Detailed specifications and rules regarding each event can be found in the TSA Middle School Competitive Events Guide for the 2020 and 2021 National TSA Conferences.


Events Offered at WTSA State Conference



Participants conduct research on a contemporary biotechnology issue of their choosing, document their research, and create a display. The information gathered may be student-performed research or a re-creation or simulation of research performed by the scientific community. If appropriate, a model or prototype depicting some aspect of the issue may be included in the display. Semifinalist teams make a presentation and are interviewed about their topic.


Career Prep  

Participants conduct research on a selected technology-related career according to a theme posted on the TSA website, and use this knowledge to prepare a letter of introduction and a chronological skills resume. Semifinalists participate in a mock interview.

Children’s Stories  

Participants create an illustrated children’s story that will incorporate educational and social values. The story may be written in a genre of choice. Examples are fables, adventures, non-fiction, fiction, and fairy tales. The story must revolve around the theme chosen for the given year. The theme will be posted on the TSA website under Competitions/Themes and Problems. 


Community Service Video

Participants create and submit a video that depicts the local TSA chapter’s involvement with a community service project (e.g., American Cancer Society) of their choice.

Computer-Aided Design (CAD) Foundations

Participants (two [2] individuals per state) have the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of CAD fundamentals as they create a two-dimensional (2D) graphic representation of an engineering part or object.


Participants will demonstrate their knowledge of computer science and coding by taking a written test. Semifinalists will further demonstrate their programming knowledge by participating in an on-site programming challenge. Details about the on-site challenge (e.g., programming language to be used and practice problems) can be found on the TSA website under Themes and Problems.

Cybersecurity Foundations

Participants complete a Cybersecurity exam covering general cybersecurity vocabulary and knowledge needed to execute tasks commonly performed by all levels of cybersecurity professionals. Using digital presentation software such as Powerpoint, Prezi, or Moovly, participants prepare a presentation, addressing a specific cybersecurity issue, to a group of hypothetical corporate board members (i.e., judges).
Participants must explain the importance of cybersecurity and why it is essential that the organization invest in such measures. The problem statement will be posted on the TSA website under Competition/Themes and Problems.

Data Science and Analytics

Participants  conduct research on an annual theme or topic, collect data, and document their research in a supporting portfolio and a display. Participants implement a variety of methods to find connections between data, and gain insightful knowledge about a particular issue. Using analytics, participants assess collected data to make predictions and informed decisions.

Digital Photography 

Participants produce a digital album consisting of color or black and white digital photographs that represent or relate to a chosen theme (posted on the TSA website under Competitions/Themes and Problems) and place the album on a storage device (USB flash drive) for submission. Semifinalists produce a series of digital photographs taken at the conference site that are edited appropriately for the on-site task. Details about the current year's theme can be found on the TSA website under Themes and Problems.


Participants design and produce a race-worthy CO2-powered dragster according to stated specifications, using only specified materials. Special design requirements will be posted for this event on the TSA website under Competitions/Themes and Problems.

Essays on Technology 

Participants conduct research on specified subtopics of a broader technological area and, using the knowledge and resources gained through that research, write a comprehensive essay on one subtopic that is designated on site.


Participants study the principles of flight and design in order to fabricate a glider that stays in flight for the greatest elapsed time. The glider must be designed to be launched from a catapult that is provided on site. The design process is documented in a portfolio that is submitted for evaluation.

Forensic Technology  

Participants take a written test of basic forensic science theory to qualify as semifinalists. Semifinalists demonstrate their ability to use forensic technology and skills by collecting evidence from – and analyzing – a mock crime scene.

Foundations of Information Technology

Participants complete a examination covering essential IT skills and knowledge needed to perform tasks commonly performed by all levels of IT professionals. Semifinalists exhibit proficiency and demonstrate creative problem solving by applying techniques to troubleshoot an industry-related challenge.

Junior Solar Sprint

Participants apply STEM concepts, creativity, teamwork, and problem-solving skills as they design, construct, and race a solar-powered model car.

Leadership Strategies  

Participants demonstrate leadership and team skills by preparing a presentation based on a selected challenge the officers of a TSA chapter might encounter.


Mass Production  

Participants manufacture a marketable product related to the current year’s theme, which can be found on the TSA website under Themes and Problems. The team submits a documentation portfolio of the activities involved and three identical products made during the manufacturing process.

Mechanical Engineering 

Participants will design and build a "Rube Goldberg" mechanical device. This device will contain three (3) subsystems within a larger system. Each subsystem will contain all six (6) simple machines in a fun and inventive way. The final solution or grand finale is open-ended to maximize creativity. The transfer of energy in a device will travel a specific path from start to finish for a minimum of seven(7) seconds per board. The device must be self-powered utilizing kinetic energy. The device must be capable of repeated demonstrations without long setup times. Semifinalists participate in a presentation interview. 

Medical Technology  

Participants conduct research on a contemporary medical technology issue of their choosing, document their research, and create a display. If appropriate, a model or prototype depicting an aspect of the issue may be included in the display. Semifinalists give a presentation.


Microcontroller Design

Participants develop a working digital device (product) with real-world applications. Through a product demonstration and documentation, the team demonstrates knowledge of microcontroller programming, simple circuitry, and product design and marketing. The project should have educational and social value, and conform to the theme for the year, which can be found on Themes and Problems. Semifinalists demonstrate and promote their work in a presentation.

Off the Grid 

Throughout the world, people are working to become more self-sustaining when it comes to landscaping and architectural design. Sometimes the purpose is to live off the grid, and other times it is to create a smaller carbon footprint. There are many options throughout the world, but sometimes a location limits or enables those options. In this event, participants conduct research on a sustainable architectural design for a home in a country of the team's choosing (other than their home country). Participants will create a display and a model. The model can be of the home the team designed or of a specific aspect of their design. Semifinalist teams will give a presentation and are interviewed about their design. The design brief for this competition will be posted on the TSA website under Competitions/Themes and Problems.

Prepared Speech  

Participants deliver a speech that reflects the theme of the current year’s national conference.

Problem Solving  

Participants use problem solving skills to develop a finite solution to a problem provided on site.

Promotional Marketing  

Participants create marketing tools that could be used in a TSA Promotional Kit. The theme and required elements for this event will be posted on the TSA website under Competitions/Themes and Problems. The toolkit components will be digitally submitted on a USB flash drive in an envelope, both labeled with the student's identification number. Semifinalists are asked to work creatively under constraints to design a solution to a problem given on site, using their own computer/laptop work station. Semifinalist entries will be saved to the individual's event USB drive for judging.

STEM Animation 

Participants use computer graphics tools and design processes (i.e., animation) to communicate, inform, analyze and/or illustrate a topic, idea, subject, or concept that focuses on one (1) or more of the following areas: science, technology, engineering, or mathematics; sound may accompany graphic images. Participants will find the current year's theme posted on the TSA website (www.tsaweb.org) under Competitions/Themes and Problems for this information. A documentation portfolio and a USB flash drive with the STEM animation comprise the entry. Semifinalists make a presentation.

Structural Engineering  

Participants apply the principles of structural design and engineering through basic research, design, construction, and destructive testing to determine the design efficiency of a structure. Details about the structure and information related to it will be posted on the TSA website (www.tsaweb.org) under Competitions/Themes and Problems. The on-site semifinalist problem will be a variation of the pre-conference problem posted on the TSA website.

System Control Technology  

Participants use a team approach to develop a computer-controlled model solution to a given problem, typically one based on an industrial setting. Teams analyze the problem, build a computer-controlled mechanical model, program the model, explain the program and mechanical features of the model-solution, and leave instructions for judges to operate the device.

Tech Bowl

Participants demonstrate their knowledge of TSA and concepts addressed in the technology content standards by completing a written objective test; semifinalist teams participate in a question/response, head-to-head competition.


Technical Design  

Participants demonstrate their ability to use the technical design process to solve an engineering design problem on site at the conference.


VEX Robotics

The TSA VEX Robotics Competition (VRC) is provided in partnership with TSA and VEX. The game field and challenge are the same each year as the current VEX field and challenge, but qualifying is based solely on skills rankings, and finals play is one-on-one, rather than alliances. Teams are allowed to get their runs in any time between 9 am and 2 pm, to allow students to compete in other TSA competitive events also. VEX teams will be required to turn in a team LEAP resume, and a design notebook. Washington will send 2 high school VEX teams, and 1 middle school VEX team, to the National Conference.

Video Game Design

Participants develop, build, and launch an E-rated, online game that focuses on the subject of their choice. The game should be interesting, exciting, visually appealing, and intellectually challenging. The game and all required documentation must be submitted — and will be evaluated — online, pre-conference. Semifinalist teams (list posted at the conference) participate in an on-site interview to demonstrate the knowledge and expertise they gained during the development of the game.

Website Design 

Participants design, build, and launch a website that features the team's ability to incorporate the elements of website design, graphic layout, and proper coding techniques. The design brief for this event will be posted on the TSA website (www.tsaweb.org) under Competitions/Themes and Problems. Semifinalists (determined prior to the conference) participate in an on-site conference interview, with an emphasis on web design as it pertains to their solution, to demonstrate the knowledge and expertise gained during the development of the website.


Events Not Offered at WTSA State Conference

Challenging Technology Issues  

Chapter Team  

Construction Challenge  

electrical applications

Inventions & Innovations