Aerodynamic Challenge

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Aerodynamic Challenge is a trial event that was run at the 2019 and 2020 Wisconsin state tournaments.

The Event

The event is run much unlike any other build event in Science Olympiad. Teams will show up with a kit, containing items such as sand paper, cutting boards, and clay. All kits must also contain 3 band-aids.

Event Parameters

  1. Teams will be provided materials to construct a drinking straw rocket. Materials provided by Event Supervisor may include: straws, paper, foam, wood, and/or plastic.
  2. A launch system will be provided by Event Supervisor that will deliver a range of air pressure from 10 to 80 psi with adjustable launch angles.
  3. At the beginning of the Event the Event Supervisor will provided details for the competition which may include challenges related to flight distance, flight accuracy and/or flight precision.
  4. Teams may bring tools in one clear sided container (footprint no more than 12” x 18”). Items Allowed: sandpaper, cutting boards, adhesive systems, thread, pins, tape, wax paper, clay, model magic clay, pens/pencils and logbook. Teams must include in their tool kit a first-aid kit consisting of at least three bandaids. Items Not Allowed in tool kit: straws, cardboard, boron, carbon fiber, wood, foam, or plastic materials
  5. Each team is responsible for their work site. Any debris must be disposed of, the site cleaned and inspected before official flights are attempted.

Construction Parameters

  1. Only those materials provided by Event Supervisor will be allowed in model assembly along with clay/ ballast provided by teams.
  2. Rockets must be labeled with Team # and Name. No labels results in a 10% score reduction.

The Competition

  • The event must be held indoors. Tournament Officials and Event Supervisors are urged to minimize the

effects of environmental factors such as air currents. Rooms with minimal ceiling obstructions are preferred over very high ceilings. The event may be split at tournaments into a variety of build and launch formats. For example, teams may be scheduled for an All Build time block followed by flight times later in the tournament day. A bracketed tournament system of two teams competing at once may be employed.

  • Once competitors enter the cordoned off competition area, they will:
  1. Sign-in and schedule a time-slot for official launches (if not already performed before tournament and have their build kit(s) inspected.
  2. Teams will then submit their first-aid kit for inspection Students must show officials that they have a first-aid kit (minimum of 3 band-aids) or deduct 10% from final score.
  3. The team members remain in the competition area until their official launches are completed. No outside assistance is allowed.
  4. Teams will assemble up to rockets from materials provided. Teams will be provided approximately 25 minutes (specific time will be announced by the Event Supervisor) for model construction.
  5. Teams will be provided an opportunity to hand launch their rockets to trim their rockets.
  • Secondary Check-in and Official Flights: Competitors must present up to two rockets for inspection during the Secondary Check-In.
  1. The rockets will be inspected for any safety hazards
  2. Teams will then be provided an opportunity to launch their flights according to the Event Challenge of the day.


The event supervisor is responsible for determining the scoring for the event, as the challenges change between meets.


Teams should try to build a simpler rocket that is very easy to produce. Better teams have 1 design that works for many different challenges, rather than many different designs for one challenge a piece.