Nebraska & Iowa VEX IQ Challenge Season Starts

The 2017-18 VEX IQ Challenge season has begun in Iowa and Nebraska, with teams competing with each other in the Ringmaster game.  This will be the most exciting VEX IQ season with the expansion in teams and tournaments.

Rapid Growth in VEX IQ Challenge Teams

In 3 years, Nebraska and Iowa has seen rapid growth in VEX IQ Challenge teams.  We’ve already doubled the number of teams from last year, with more teams planning to register this season.  This growth has earned our region an additional World Championship Qualification spot for this season (now 3 spots).  If the team growth continues, we could earn additional bonus spots this season.

Also, we’ve been fortunate to maintain an even split between Elementary and Middle school teams.  Hopefully we continue to grow each division to allow both the opportunity for awards at each grade level at all tournaments.

Season     MS
# of
2015-16 1 0 1 1 0
2016-17 5 5 10 2 3
2017-18* 12 14 26 3** 7

* Registration is still in process for the season.
** Based on the overall team growth by December 31st, REC could grant additional World Spots to our region.

2017-18 Schedule

The number of VEX IQ tournaments has doubled in Nebraska and Iowa, expanding to seven Ringmaster tournaments this year.  This increase is a great news, giving the increased number teams abundant opportunities to compete.

  • Jr. Jacket Robotics Vex IQ Tournament
    Saturday, October 28th
    Event Details
  • Mary Our Queen VEX IQ Tournament
    Saturday, November 11th
    Event Details
  • Marrs VEX IQ Tournament
    Saturday, December 2nd
    Event Details
  • Marrs Skills Challenge Only
    Saturday, January 27th
    Event Details
  • Pwnament VEX IQ Tournament 
    Saturday, February 2nd
    Event Details
  • DC West VEX IQ Tournament 
    Saturday, February 2nd
    Event Details
  • Nebraska / Iowa Regional
    Saturday, March 3rd
    Event Details

Similar to last year, a qualification process for the Nebraska / Iowa Regional is not necessary yet.  There is more capacity than registered teams, so all registered teams in Nebraska and Iowa will be able to compete in the Regional Tournament.

Ringmaster Game Details

Each year, a new game is announced for the teams to compete in.  Students can find the specific details of this year’s game in the following links

Have questions?  You can always ask a fellow coach in the area.  You can also ask them on the VEX IQ forum.

Excellence Award, Design Award, & STEM Presentation Judging

In additional to the competition, students also have the opportunity to be recognized for their accomplishments in what they’ve learned throughout the season.  To reduce the mystery of the judging process, here’s a full description of the awards and how they are judged in this season’s Award Appendix and Judges Guide.

Design Award
The Design Award recipient demonstrates the ability to implement the most effective and efficient robot design process. Their Engineering Notebook and discussion with the Judges will demonstrate the team’s ability to produce a quality robot with minimal adult assistance. Only teams that submit Engineering Notebooks are eligible for the Design Award.

Key criteria:

  • Engineering Notebook is a clear, complete, and organized document of the robot design process.
  • Team demonstrates effective management of skills, time, and material resources.
  • Students understand and explain how they developed an effective game strategy and robot design.
  • Students demonstrate teamwork and effective communication skills.

STEM Research Project
The STEM Research Project Award is presented to the team that shares the most effective STEM Research Project presentation. This presentation, as well as the followup discussion with Judges, effectively demonstrates the students’ significant depth of understanding of their topic and research findings. The presentation will also highlight the students’ work in sharing what they learned in an effective format.

Key criteria:

  • Identifies a challenge topic of interest that relates to the STEM theme for the season
  • Completes research and collects evidence using reliable sources
  • Demonstrates a well-organized and documented process to study and explain the research findings
  • Describes how the research findings were applied to develop and test the solution
  • Shares the solution in an effective and creative presentation
  • Students demonstrate an understanding of the entire research process
  • Students demonstrate teamwork and effective communication skills

This year’s STEM Research Topic is Robotics Engineering and Ethics.

Excellence Award
Be sure to encourage students to participate in the Design Award and STEM Research Project throughout the season.  In order to win the Excellence award, teams must have an Engineering Notebook and a STEM Research Project presentation.

Are you a rookie team looking for where to begin?

With the rapid growth, we have several young teams that will benefit from a ‘starter’ design to begin their season with.  Typically teams build the Clawbot to get an understanding of the platform.

The VEX Robotics engineering team released the Stretch Robot and the modified Clawbot build instructions.  Both of these designs will work with the current game, allowing students to pickup rings and score points.  Both designs serves as a simple base to start from, giving the students plenty opportunity for learning and improvements for the season.

Feel Free to Share

Hopefully this email was helpful to new and veteran teams.  Please share this with anyone interested, if they wish to be added to the list they send an email to [email protected]

Have suggestions on additional topics that should be shared with the regional VEX IQ community?  Don’t hesitate to send us a note.

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