Robotics Education & Competition Foundation
Inspiring students, one robot at a time.

Career Readiness Challenge - Elementary School

The engineering design process is a practical approach to problem-solving that is utilized by VEX Robotics teams and in a wide range of potential careers. Entries for this challenge will explore the way professionals in a specific career or company use and document the steps of the engineering design process.

VEX Robotics competitors are uniquely positioned to become future innovators and pursue STEM-related careers. Many of the skills developed, including application of the engineering design process, will directly transfer to future professions. We want you to explore a possible future career, and discover the similarities and differences in how that prospective career and VEX Robotics teams use and learn from the process of engineering design. There are many paths that you can take to becoming a STEM leader. Which will you choose?

Visit this link for a printable summary of this challenge.


Grade Level Requirements
Elementary School Middle School High School College / University No Grade Level Restrictions
Program Requirements
VEX IQ Robotics Competition


One (1) Winner: $500 VEX Robotics gift certificate; if the winning entry is from a VIQRC team that has competed in their program with a physical robot during their competition season, they will also receive an automatic qualification to the 2024 VEX World Championships

Four (4) Finalists: $100 VEX Robotics gift certificate

Finalists and winners will be selected at each of the following grade levels, for a total of three (3) prize packages:

  • Elementary School

  • Middle School

  • VRC High School


Teams must be part of a registered VEX Robotics team for the current season.

  • This page is for Elementary School entries only - if you are any other program or grade level, please refer to the Online Challenge listings to find the correct page for your program and grade level.

  • Only one entry per team is permitted. However, each team in a multi-team school or club program may submit one entry. For example, teams 123A and 123B could each submit an entry, but team 123A could not submit two entries. Entries must vary in content and presentation to be considered separate entries. 

  • Entries submitted in previous years’ Online Challenges are not eligible for submission this year.

By uploading a submission to an REC Foundation Online Challenge, you agree to follow the Submission Guidelines and certify that you understand the Intellectual Property Rights held by you and the REC Foundation regarding your submission. Please review the Submission Guidelines and Intellectual Property Rights information at this link before uploading your submission.


Challenge Details

How does a professional’s use of the design process match yours? As the world continues to become more technical, an increasing number of professions rely on some version of the engineering design process to identify and solve problems. Your submission will use a combination of text and images to identify a specific career or company and explore how its professionals apply and document the steps of a design process in the tasks of their job.

Things to keep in mind for a successful submission:

  • Which STEM career or company did you select, and why?

  • What resources did you find to learn about professionals in this career or company and how they use the engineering design process?

  • How do professionals in this career or company apply steps of the engineering design process?

  • How does the professional approach to engineering design match or differ from the approach used by your team?

  • How has participation in VEX Robotics prepared you for a future career?

Technical Details

A submission must meet these minimum requirements in order to be judged.

  1. Entry is created and produced solely by student team members. It is acceptable for adults to assist with downloading any necessary resources or submitting the story where students may need permission.

  2. Format: One PDF file (up to 20MB) that includes all content, including images.

  3. Size: Submission up to 1000 words, including all content. Judges may use a software-based word counter such as to verify word counts.

  4. Title Page:  Each entry must include a title page that includes:

    • Title of submission

    • Names of students who participated (using first names only is acceptable)

    • Team number 

    • Location of team

Upload Instructions

Note: Beginning with the 2023-24 season, challenge entries must be uploaded by the primary contact for a registered team. This individual should ensure that the submission meets all requirements and criteria before uploading.

  1. Click the green Submit an Entry button on the right side of the screen.
  2. Fill out the submission form and add an optional description of the entry to the Short Description field.
  3. Ensure you are entering the correct team number and letter, with no spaces.
  4. Click Save.
  5. Click the blue Files /Images button in the upper right of the screen.
  6. Drag/drop your PDF file into the Upload a File box, then refresh if needed to view file details below the Upload a File box.
  7. Edit the Display Name and file information to include your entry title and your team number; for example, "MathWorks Challenge entry, team 007x."
  8. Click on Save to record your edits.

Judging Information

  • Up to 5 points for a submission that identifies a career or company and describes why it was chosen

  • Up to 5 points for a description of how the chosen profession or company applies steps of the engineering design process, and how their process compares to the team’s process

  • Up to 5 points for describing how participation in VEX Robotics prepares students for a future career

  • Up to 5 points for clear presentation of findings and organization of content

  • Up to 5 points for the quality and readability of the writing, including spelling, grammar, and sentence structure

  • Up to 5 points for the quality and thoroughness of images used to document the project

Deadline Information

Current time:
Sat, Jun 15, 2024 9:18 PM CDT


Wed, Nov 1, 2023 12:00 AM CDT


Wed, Jan 31, 2024 4:00 PM CST