Press Release:

Space-Themed Challenge Propels 37th Annual Tech Challenge to New Heights

More than 2,000 Students from 144 Schools Participated in The Tech’s Premier Engineering Design Program

San Jose, April 28, 2024 – The Tech, the world-renowned science, technology, and education center in the heart of Silicon Valley, announces the results of the Final Showcase of 37th Annual Tech Challenge, which took place on April 27-28 in downtown San Jose. Presented by Amazon, The Tech Challenge drew thousands of students in grades 4-12 to South Hall to put their solutions and engineering journals to the test in front of the judges. 

This year’s challenge, “Cosmic Quest”, sent teams on a fictional journey to aid scientists in unraveling the mysteries of a distant planet and its largest moon. Their mission? Engineer a launcher to successfully transport essential supplies—represented by tennis balls—to the lunar surface. Over 540 teams participated this year, many sporting space-themed costumes, unveiled their prototypes, showcasing their ability to launch tennis balls that would safely land on three distinct surfaces.

“This weekend we witnessed an extraordinary display of creativity and determination from all of the students who participated,” said Katrina Stevens, President and CEO of The Tech. “It is truly inspiring to see the next generation of engineers and innovators pushing the boundaries of what’s possible, all while learning critical lessons about teamwork, communication, and the importance of learning from failure.”

This year-round program kicked off in October when teams of two to six students began working through the engineering design process to solve the given challenge. Participants have spent months collaborating and becoming deeply engaged in the challenge while documenting their progress and designs. Now they can begin preparing for next year’s challenge, the theme of which has been hinted to focus on gravity.

"The Tech Challenge sparks students' passion for engineering, fostering a profound love for learning, teamwork, and innovation," stated Abby Longcor, Senior Director of The Tech Challenge. “This year's cosmic theme, 'Cosmic Quest,' has captured imaginations far and wide, not only elevating students’ engineering prowess but also sparking the curiosity of future astronomers and physicists. We were thrilled to witness countless students ascend to new heights of creativity and problem-solving this weekend.”

The Tech Challenge would not be possible without the enduring support of hundreds of educators. This year’s Bob Grimm Award for an Extraordinary Educator was given to Matt Pearson from Marin Country Day School. The award is named after a long-time Tech Challenge champion Bob Grimm, who was a stalwart supporter of providing STEM education resources for all.

You can find a list of all 2024 award winners here

To watch a recap of the showcase weekend, view here.

The Tech Challenge presenting sponsor is Amazon; with additional support from Barbara and Bill Heil, eBay, Inc., Intel, Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., Adobe Foundation, Agilent, Arm, Deloitte Foundation, EY, Ford Motor Company, Gibson Dunn, Google, Hitachi Vantara, Marvell, Mayfield Fund Foundation, Neat, Renesas Electronics, and Snowflake.

About The Tech Interactive

The Tech Interactive is a family-friendly science and technology center in the heart of downtown San Jose. Our hands-on activities, experimental labs and design challenge experiences empower people to innovate with creativity, curiosity and compassion. The Tech is a world leader in the creation of immersive STEAM education resources to develop the next generation of problem-solvers locally, nationally and globally. We believe that everyone is born an innovator who can change the world for the better.

Inspiring the innovator in everyone.