Duct Tape Challenge

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Duct Tape Challenge
Inquiry & Lab Event
Forum Threads 2018
There are no tests available for this event
There are no images available for this event
There are no question marathons for this event
This event was not held recently in Division B
This event was not held recently in Division C

Duct Tape Challenge was a trial event ran in New York for Division B and Division C for the 2017-2018 season. It also ran in the 2018-2019 season, for several Division B invitationals in Pennsylvania and New York. The event required competitors to design a structure with duct tape as the primary building material. The structure would have a task to be completed, which would be revealed at the competition.

The Event

The event had competitors design a device using duct tape (brought by competitors themselves) in addition to materials provided by the proctors, such as straws, paper clips, etc. (similar to Mystery Architecture). The competitors are assigned a task that the duct tape device must accomplish. Some examples provided in the trial rules are a parachute that can float the longest, and the longest bridge that can support a tennis ball. The device cannot be attached to the floor, so taping it down with duct tape would be a violation of the rules. There is 35 minutes given to build/test the device.


As with some other events, Duct Tape Challenge will not reveal the task required until the competition date. It may seem tempting to skip preparation altogether because of this. In reality, there are multiple ways to prepare. The rules give multiple scenarios (bridge, parachute, etc.) so it would be helpful to practice all of these, especially with a time constraint. This will not only give a feel for the event and it's pace, but also experience with working with duct tape and craft supplies quickly. In addition, if the competition ends up using a scenario from the rules, it will be easy to carry out the building, as a plan has been made ahead of time.


The event has a very short time span to plan, construct, and test the device. Due to this, time management is essential.


Although it may seem tempting to skip straight to construction, it is incredibly important to take even a couple of minutes to plan out what the device will be, and have a rough idea of measurements for it. In addition, these couple of minutes can be used to decide what materials should be used and how they can be used in the most effective way. For example, Styrofoam can be used to hold up the device because it is rigid, and paper clips can be used to


Once finished planning, it is important to quickly transition to building without much hesitation. However, it may seem unlikely to finish within the time constraints. For this, the event allows teams of two for a reason! Make sure to take advantage of having a partner if given one, and split the work. One person can prepare parts, and another can put them together, or both can work on separate parts of the device. There are many ways to split the work to make sure to stay under the 35 minute limit. In addition to this, careful planning beforehand can expedite the building process.


Testing is incredibly important. However, it can be the most nerve-wracking part of the competition. With the few minutes remaining after building, it is important to correct any necessary last minute fixes. Hopefully, the device works smoothly. If the device happens to fail, make fast and small fixes rather than dramatic ones. It is much safer to have a working device that will definitely be finished rather than a rebuilt device that may not be.

External Links

Trial Rules