4-H Robotics Challenge

Robotics Challenge Logo

A real time robotics design challenge! Here's your chance to show off your robot designing and programming skills. "Real time" means your club arrives at the event not knowing what the challenges will be. The morning of the event we will hold a Challenge Release where the details of each robotics design challenge are revealed. Your robotics club will receive two challenges; one using the LEGO Mindstorms© EV3 platform, and a surprise junk drawer challenge. After the Challenge Release it's time to go to work! Your club works as a team to design a robot to meet each of the challenges. At the end of the working period, enter the Challenge Field and set loose your robots to the cheers of spectators!


Senior High Division:

Sunday, August 12, 2018 from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m (Senior High Division: 9th-12th grades)

Junior High Division:

Monday, August 13, 2018 from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m (Junior High Division: 6th-8th grades)


4-H Exhibits Building, Iowa State fairgrounds, Des Moines, Iowa (Map)

Who can participate?

Robotics clubs composed of 3 to 10 youth and up to two adult leaders/coaches.

Event Divisions

There are two grade-based divisions: junior high school division for younger youth and senior high school division for older youth. 

Junior High Division:  Club members enrolled in 6th - 8th grades in the 2017-2018 school year.

Senior High Division:  Club members enrolled in 9th - 12th grades in the 2017-2018 school year.

The Challenge:

This year’s challenges are:

LEGO Mindstorms® EV3 Challenge - Design, build, and program a robot that can accomplish a specific goal. Participating clubs should have some experience working with the LEGO Mindstorms© EV3 hardware and software. For additional details see the Robotics Club Packet (pdf).

Junk Drawer - This challenge will test engineering and teamwork skills by presenting a novel situation and innovative materials to work with. Each team will be given identical drawers full of materials. The challenge is to design and build a robot capable of accomplishing a specified task  (to be revealed during the Challenge Release). For additional details see the Robotics Team Packet.

Registration is open!

Registration is taken on a first-come-first-serve.  The registration deadline is July 6! Applications will be reviewed and teams will be notified by July 20 and asked to confirm.

To register your club for the 4-H Robotics Challenge, complete the Online Registration Form. 

Register Online

After registering:

Your club's leader/coach will receive an email containing:

  • Your club's status -- invited to participate or on waiting list -- based on the first-come-first-serve selection process.
  • The Robotics Club Packet with participation guidelines and additional details (also listed in the right-hand sidebar).
  • A link to the online Participation Confirmation Form that every club must complete to verify their attendance, the number of participants, and T-shirt sizes.
  • Forms you will need to fill out and bring with you to the Event (also listed in the right-hand sidebar).

Withdrawal deadline:

After the withdrawal deadline of July 27* each club leader/coach will receive:

  • Tickets to the Iowa State Fair for the day of the event for each participating club member and up to two leaders/coaches 
  • Any updates or additional event details 
  • Any unconfirmed slots will be offered to clubs on the waiting list at this time

*Teams may withdraw any time before July 27th without penalty.  After July 27th, withdrawing will incur a $100 penalty.

If you have questions, contact Vicki Speake 515-294-5738

Past 4-H Robotics Events

In 2010, eight teams with a total of 34 members were challenged to design two completely separate robots in real time. Check out the video below about the event produced by youth!

2018 Documents

Robotics Club Packet (pdf)

Equip. Checkout Agreement (pdf)

Club Roster (Fillable Word Document)

Club Checklist (pdf)

Medical Release (Youth) (pdf)

Medical Release (Youth)(Fillable Word Form)

Medical Release - Spanish(Youth) (pdf)

Medical Release - Spanish (Youth) (Fillable Word Form)

Medical Release (Adult) (pdf)

Medical Release (Adult) (Fillable Word Form)

Get Involved

You can help!

We need volunteers to keep score, check-in/out teams, and setup and tear down the event.

Online Resources


FIRST Tech Challenge