Robotics Education & Competition Foundation
Online Challenges

"Thinking Outside The Box" Photography Challenge

Now that the COVID-19 pandemic is global and most of us are practicing social distancing to help flatten the curve, that leaves many of us with a lot of downtime or finding unique ways to accomplish a goal. With school or activities being hybrid, virtual, or in-person, we wanted to come up with a new photography challenge for this season.

Take some time to focus your mind and attention on some photo projects that can help you become a better photographer and to think outside the box. Part of becoming an improved photographer is understanding how to challenge yourself to put the skills you already have to the test and acquire new skills that will allow you to expand your boundaries as a photographer and a member of the VEX community.

With this challenge, you will not travel to far-off locations to find material worthy of a photo. We want you to submit a photo of something or someone in your everyday life that reminds you of your experience with VEX Robotics and why. Compose a photo that conveys an emotion, specifically the feeling you experience when you are reminded of the season’s before and what you love most.


“Don’t forget about me”


I was at home so my team was really helpful and we FaceTimed during the practice and talked about the robot. We also talked about who would do what and what they had done so far. It was really nice to be FaceTimed since I felt like I could not really contribute to the team but now at least I can share my ideas on things they do. This shows one of the reasons I love robotics which is that people work together even in different circumstances.

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Social Distancing


Covid can't keep us from coding! Masks on, hands washed and socal distantly working as a team! 

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Building Day


We rebuilt the robot today. We felt like the robot wasn't doing very great, so as a team we decided to rebuilt it. We still think we will still need to have improvemeants later on in the future. 

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A Beautiful Disater


This is what happens when we work with Robots. A big mess that can make big changes.

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The elements of vex past


This picture represents our team number made from old and current vex game pieces. Game pieces used are from three different vex games including this years, Rise Above. This reminds me of my vex experience because our team number shows up everywhere during practice whether it’s in the notebook or on the robot, I see it a lot. Overall it relates to vex and reminds me of vex because your team number shows up everywhere.

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Robot in a Box


A photo of me and a robot named "Mip". 

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Early Morning Bus Rides


My favorite memories of VEX are from competition days. I loved traveling with my team because at 6 a.m., watching the sunrise through the frosty windows of the bus, there was none of the usual chaos of the robotics lab. None of us were stressed about broken robots or dead batteries or missing parts. We’d all bring blankets and pillows; we’d sleep, do homework, listen to music and sometimes just talk. It was in the early hours of the morning on the way to a competition that I realized we were more than just teammates, we were friends. 

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Gregorny, My Friend


This is Gregorny. Gregorny was a project that was originally called Sammy that me and my team would work on after our challenges. He has been through many tough times like when he was disassembled and reassembled later. He was a very fun tradition that I had with my team and he brought out our creativity and funniness. This was a fun time I had with vex robotics and it made me happy.

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Fries that brought back Competition



These fries were from lunch and we had one extra plate. So we decided to give it to the best team during the competition. This photo is important because it makes me remember how fun it was in competition and how goofy our team was. Even the team posted it on their Instagram. 


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The Experience is Everything



The picture we chose was taken at the state championships located in Maui, HI. This moment of our life really made us think about where we started and where we are all now. The experience from start to finish had really impacted our lives in a big way. We didn’t do so well at the start but we learned and improved over time. With dedication and experiences, we did very well in various tournaments including the State Championships. This moment in our lives was a reason why we love robotics to this...

The Faces of Competition


How competition is displayed in different activities are similar. In sports, we see faces of frustration and excitement. Here in robotics, we see the same thing. We see facial expressions of pure anger, confusion, anticipation, and focus. This photo is a representation of what we did that day and what we did on many others. We were either waiting and waiting until it was our time to perform or reflecting on what we did.


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 The dandelion in this picture signifies the field of robotics. This dandelion may seem like a weed to many people. People may see robotics as “nerdy”, boring, or requiring too much effort, yet the popularity of this "weed" is constantly increasing as modern expectations change. The robotics and stem field is growing, and the dandelion seeds, representing people, can be blown by the wind. As these seeds travel, they spread the legacy of robotics. As these seeds land on the ground, they flower into another dandelion, striving to spread robotics, just as my team...

Left Behind


    This photo shows a cone from In the Zone, which was the game during my first VEX season. The cone is shown left behind in an empty garage, entirely abandoned by the team that once relied on it. I often feel the same way, since all of my teammates from last year either quit or switched teams and COVID-19 has dramatically changed the way my new team meets. We have to keep our meetings short and infrequent, plus we can’t all meet together. Because of this, I feel lonely thinking of the great times I used to have in robotics.

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How Do I Get There?


Everyday, we think about how and what we should do to achieve our targets. Its like a process, we reach our target by reaching there step by step using differnet methods, like this picture, we build up using different things that would get us to our target. It is these steps that remind us of our growth and our progress in life. It is these steps that remind us of what we love and that we shouldn't forget it.

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Covid can't stop us because "Teamwork Makes the...


This is a team full of burning ambition to succeed as one, the dreamwork that inspires the heart and courage of the soul. We are full of spirit, lively of heart, and we are ready to take on whatever challenges face us as a team. This has really helped me realise what a team really is.

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Covid Can't Stop Teamwork


This is us working as one, uniting as one, our ambitions put forward, as we strive towards suceeding together. Each of us have put our Vex dreams forward to strive towards the ultimante goal: suceeding. Covid may be preventing us from taking off our masks, but our hearts have shown the true spirit of being in a team.

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10 to Go


My name is Simone. I am from team 74177U. I love art and  for this entry, I used a a program called Procreate to draw an image of a dragon getting ready to attack. When I was done with my drawing, I took a picture of my drawing so I could submit it into the competition. This image of a dragon protrays the emotion that I felt during the competition. It brings back so many memories! I have also attached the timelapse of my drawing. I hope you like my entry. 


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Our Virtual Experience


This is our group currently in this virtual experience. We may not be aloud to go back to school physically, but we are able to stay in touch virtually and get the job done. With our teamwork, we already have a cardboard version of our robot and a small program, but we are willing to change some of the robot to make it better. We also have our own jobs as well. We are an organized and ready team.

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My Time in Robotics


It seems simple but this calculator reminds me of this year in robotics. This is because the amount of times we had to take a step back amd recalculate everything.

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Thinking out of box


Team 98577A Pelican borrowed practice area from local Children's Museum. Later the museum becomes our first sponsor. While we have open place to meet and practice in COVID world, our meetings also attract other kids to watch and learn something about STEM and robotics. Those are out of box thinking to build win-win relationship for STEM education.

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Wishful Thinking


In this photo, you see me working on a robot made out of Legos.  I am stuck at home on quarantine, and I miss my robot.  So I am building  my own robot out of what I have.  It is really hard knowing my friends are having fun in robotics while I am stuck doing virtual school.  I made this photo to show that we can still have fun during these hard times.  One of the many ways to have fun right now is with robotics.  I cannot wait to see my Crunchbot soon!

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A Glimpse Of Hope


This Medal in the picture signifies what could've happened. My team and I from last year won an award to get us to worlds, but sadly, COVID took Worlds away from everyone who earned a position there. Even though the medal was cool and all I wish I could've gone to worlds and experience driving on the big stage, and competing with the best. If we find out that we can have a Worlds 2021 there is "Glimpse Of Hope."

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Robotics tool


While we build some of our teammates like to make toys to play with. Sometimes their creations are cool and sometimes they can be as annoying as COVID. 

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The Search for Knowledge


This is team 56445B researching improvement ideas for their robot. They are trying to get the robot to stack three risers high to score the max amount of points. This makes me think of the seriousness of concentrating to accomplish a goal.

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To further our education in teamwork and engineering, we are building robots with the purpose of winning a game. The other teams are expected to be smart and competitive, so in order to win the games, we have to be more dedicated than them. We are all working as a team to put together our individual strengths to build the best robot possible. 

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A Robot Vaccum


The world of robotics is amazing and full of wonders. From drones to vaccum cleaners to life saving equipment. I have learned so much in my time so far in robotics, from how to code to how to build. The robot vaccum is very handy it helps us save time and energy on helping keep a house clean. 



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Robo Royals Think Outside the Box Corona


This picture was created to show our current situation of learning robotics in the time of Covid.  

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Rise Higher


I have not looked outside for a long time, so when I stepped into my backyard, I took a deep breath of the fresh morning air. Thinking of the days ahead, I saw myself still at home, learning from a distance, unable to meet with my friends in person. I looked around and I saw two radio towers in the distance. One was short and one was rising higher than the other. They reminded me of our VEX challenge this year. My picture is called “Rise Higher” relating to this year’s challenge: Rise Above.

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An Effort


My photo is called An Effort. I named my photo as such because it reminds me of the effort my team and I put into robotics. The photo shows effort, for example, the pelicans are having a great amount of effort trying to catch the fish. They are patient and don't give up for their meal and they have a benefit of doing this. They now have their lunch. This is just like my team and I putting in the effort to get the benefit of earning the points, after the round is completed. This concludes my description of my photo and why I named it An Effort.

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Medicine Mom


My mom is my inspiration. She help to create this device to help  others. She is amazing. Thanks mom! 

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Teamwork ~ From Ideation to Full Bloom with...


While I was sitting in my garden, I looked into different stages of the flowers growing from a bud to full bloom, similar to how we started brainstorming our ideas to solve the Rise Above challenge. We first came up with ideas to form a team and robot. Next, we built the models for designing the claw, base and expansion and we finally built the perfect robot. I also saw how diverse ideas from different team members helped to make a successful project similar to how different color flowers in a vase made a beautiful decoration. 

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Passion and Protection can Co-Exist


Robotics passion with Covid safety protocol by wearing mask and face shield 

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Truck Load of Passion


Truck Load of Passion with VEX

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Our Crazy Robotics Coach


My teacher loves robots so much that after one of our teams here at Hamilton Heights did a good practice run she jumped up in excitement. After this practice run she told the whole team that if they could beat it she would buy us some ice cream. With this challenge it encouraged our teams to work faster, harder, and better to build a robot that could beat these scores from the other teams. So I got to work with my team to finish the robot and attempt to achieve the goal she set. In the end her challenge encouraged all of our teams to work together and better to get the ice cream.

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Minute Detail


Sometimes I look at advertisements, always accidentally spotting those perfect photos that are seemingly impossible for me to achieve. But this photo from a motherboard allowed me to realise that everything is possible. With the little details of the fallend dusts, the clear turning edges of each delicate part, and the reflections on those individual metallics, I am affirmed that all things are possible if you strive for it. This reminds me of how me and my team had always strove for the best in robotics, even the most minute details, and I am inspired to continue to do so.

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Turbo Bot from vex


I knocked over one of the risers and it rolled away. It kinda reminded me of the Turbo bot toy my grandpa got me for Christmas last year. So, I decided to make my own rolling bot using the risers as the wheels. At first it was really bumpy because of the octagon shape of the risers. So I stacked three together on each side and rotated each one a little more to make it roll smoother. I also made it a friendlier face. It's really fun to play with and I'm proud of it.

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Rise Above the Box


Rise Above The Box

Every day, people think inside the box, and others try thinking outside the box. I tried thinking "above the box". People need to think about all possibilities, no matter how improbable. While building my robot, I couldn't stack 3 Risers on top of each other, then I thought about making the robot taller. I saw an old robot with 2 arms snapped together with a piece. It inspired me to use the same technique. In this picture it shows me rebuilding the arms. Adding more length was a unique and creative way to think "above the...

My Magic Mentor


This is my very magical and helpful mentor Mr. Leete. 

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Building in progress


This big robot is still in the building process. Also this picture was chosen because it needed to be known! It will be fast and good once its finished.

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Hope For a Full Season


The Christmas Tree represents hope that our season will last over Christmas. Hope that school won't get cancelled so we can compete instead of having a robot for no reason. This is important because I wouldn't be able to use my imagination and I won't have something to look forward to. I won't be able to see my friends at robotics or make goofy things out of vex peices. I want it to last over Christmas because my Christmas will be bland and not interesting and I won't be able to think about robotics. My school is threading to close school entirely if we...

Cabinet of Cool


This photo reminds me of when I took STEM in 7th grade. We would store our robots inside it, and we still do! The robot in the middle is the one my partner and I built. (The skittles? That's a bonus to this class. We get them when we help out/ do really well!) I'm calling this picture the cabinet of cool because...well, it's exactly what it sounds like! We don’t store only robots in this cabinet , we store things for STEAM projects, like balsa wood for the balsa wood towers! This cabinet was one of the first things I saw when I joined this class, so that's why I...