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

STEM Research Challenge - Elementary School

The Science of Water Conservation

According to experts, water is ranked second only to oxygen as essential for life, and is used in every cell of your body. The statistics on water usage and availability highlight the challenges and needs of our world's growing population:

  • According to the USGS, each American uses an average of 82 gallons of water a day at

  • Roughly half of the world's population experiences severe water scarcity for at least part of the year

  • About 70 percent, on average, of fresh water is used for agriculture

  • The numbers of flood-related disasters and droughts have increased greatly over the past two decades

How can you use science to engineer a new solution to conserve or manage water within your community?

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 two (2) prize packages:

  • Elementary School

  • Middle 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 can you solve a water-related problem in your community? Identify a problem that interests you, then research existing ways to solve the problem and brainstorm new ones. Use the engineering design process to imagine or create a prototype solution and present it in your video. Organize your project, summarize your research, and present it all in a video. You can present the information in any way you want within your video submission, and we encourage you to be creative!

Things to keep in mind for a successful submission:

  • Involve all team members in the project.

  • What water-related problem can you help solve? Why did you choose this problem?

  • How many ways can you think of to solve your problem? Do any current solutions exist? Which one did your team choose to develop?

  • Imagine or create a prototype and describe or show it to us.

  • What are the sources you used for your project research? Are they reliable?

Minimum Requirements

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 help with the technical aspects of creating and submitting a video to YouTube, and adults are encouraged to assist in completing any task that would be difficult or inappropriate for students in their age group.

  2. Format: One link to a video file posted on YouTube, SchoolTube, Youku, or equivalent video-streaming platform. Links to Google Drive, Dropbox, or other storage locations are not acceptable and will not be reviewed.

  3. Size: Up to three (3) minutes, including title, credits, and any other content.

  4. Credits:  Each video must include:

    • Title of submission

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

    • Team number 

    • Location of team

  5. Music must be in the public domain.

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 Links / Videos button in the upper right of the screen.

  6. Enter the URL, title, and description of the video.

  7. Click on Add Link.

Judging Information

  • Up to 5 points for identifying a problem within the challenge theme, and describing why it was chosen.

  • Up to 5 points for presenting existing solutions and new possible solutions, and describing the solution chosen by the team.

  • Up to 5 points for using and identifying reliable research sources used in the project.

  • Up to 5 points for presenting a prototype of the solution.

  • Up to 5 points for a video that is well-edited, structured, and presented with clear, appropriate and well-balanced sound

  • Up to 5 points for a video that is easy to understand, clearly presented, creative, and enjoyable to watch


Deadline Information

Current time:
Wed, Apr 17, 2024 6:54 AM CDT


Wed, Nov 1, 2023 12:00 AM CDT


Wed, Jan 31, 2024 4:00 PM CST