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The Tech Challenge 2014 Executive Summary

Design-challenge program sees continued growth; next year students will put seismic engineering into action
Press Release Date 
Friday, June 27, 2014
SAN JOSE, CA – The Tech Challenge 2014 presented by Cisco gave thousands of students in grades 5-12 the opportunity to engage in team learning in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). This six-month-long engineering design program reinforces 21st-century skills including creativity, problem solving, design thinking, teamwork, leadership, public speaking, risk taking, perseverance, and the ability to learn from failure.
This year’s challenge – Harnessing the Wind – required students to build a wind-powered device to move water to a higher elevation in three minutes or less. The students’ devices were made of all kinds of materials, including cardboard, water bottles, PVC pipe, wood and a spectrum of recycled items. The months-long program culminated with Event Days on April 12-13. In addition to showing off their inventions, participants presented their journals, which documented their design and engineering process, and explained to the judges how their devices would work in the real world. For the first time this year, the judges included a group of Silicon Valley CEOs.
For The Tech Challenge 2015, students will test their seismic engineering skills by building an earthquake-safe skyscraper.
For 27 years, The Tech Challenge has inspired creativity and equipped students with hands-on experiences in engineering design and real-world problem solving. Thousands of students have put their imaginations to the test in the largest team design challenge in the Bay Area. In previous challenges, young innovators have built devices to explore Mars craters, fight wildfires, rescue earthquake victims, collect samples in the rainforest, and deploy instruments to an asteroid.

Team Numbers 2014 2013
Registered Teams 513 446
Registered Team Members     2073          1916
Title 1 Teams 2014 2013
Number of Title 1 teams 176 160
Number of Title 1 participants 711 688
Gender 2014 2013
Number of females 870 805
Female % 42% 42%

From The Tech President Tim Ritchie:
●     “The Tech Challenge makes a meaningful difference in the lives of thousands of young people because it increases their confidence for solving problems in the real world. The program inspires innovative thinking, requires collaboration, and rewards persistence, all of which are necessary for taking on the challenges we face.”
●     “One of The Tech’s deepest beliefs is that everyone is born to be a problem solver. The Tech Challenge gives participants an opportunity to experience and show how innovative they can be.”
●     “The creativity at The Tech Challenge is stunning. Just when you think you’ve seen all the solutions to a problem, you’re presented with another way to solve it. If our participants can take from this program an awareness that they have the power to solve problems and that there is always a better way, we have succeeded.”
From 2014 Tech Challenge participants:
●     “I learned how to use more power tools and how fun science can be. I found out I want to be a scientist when I grow up.”
●     “Doing The Tech Challenge, I learned how to take more responsibility and work under pressure. Furthermore, the challenge allowed me use my skills in decision making and recording my ideas, which are important skills to have in a team. Lastly, I gained experience with power tools, building structural supports with wood, and work with a team.”
●     “I learned how to persevere in the face of challenges.”
2014 participants came from:
Alameda, Atherton, Belmont, Berkeley, Burlingame, Campbell, Castro Valley, Castroville, Corte Madera, Cupertino, East Palo Alto, El Cerrito, Foster City, Fremont, Fresno, Gilroy, Greenfield, Hayward, Hillsborough, Livermore, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Los Gatos, Menlo Park, Milpitas, Monterey, Morgan Hill, Moss Beach, Mountain View, Oakland, Palo Alto, Redwood City, Salinas, San Carlos, San Jose, San Mateo, San Ramon, Santa Clara, Saratoga, Seaside, Sunnyvale, Sunol, Tuolumne, Union City, Waterford
For more information on The Tech Challenge, visit:
View the complete list of winners and awards for all Division Grades.
The Tech Challenge 2014 sponsors
Cisco Systems, Inc.
Aruba Networks
Motorola Solutions Foundation
Fairchild Semiconductor
Lockheed Martin
TE Connectivity
Michelle Tran
Public Relations Specialist
About The Tech Museum of Innovation
The Tech is a hands-on technology and science museum for people of all ages and backgrounds. The museum—located in the Capital of Silicon Valley —is a non-profit, experiential learning resource established to engage people in exploring and experiencing applied technologies affecting their lives. Through programs such as The Tech Challenge presented by Cisco, our annual team-design competition for youth, and internationally renowned program to honor technology benefiting humanity, The Tech Awards presented by Applied Materials, The Tech endeavors to inspire the innovator in everyone.