You are here

E&T Expo High School Student Competitions

Are you competitive or just want some bragging rights? If you fit either or both descriptions you should enter one of the three Engineering and Technology Expo high school competitions. All competitions can have individual or team participants. The Egg Drop and Balsa Wood Competitions require you to submit devices built before the E&T Expo. The Mystery Challenge requires no preparation.

Please visit our Competition Frequently Asked Questions Page or email if you have questions about any of the listed rules.

Egg Drop Competition – Team or Individual Event


Students will design a device prior to the UL E&T Expo date (3/8/2017). This device needs to protect a raw, store-bought chicken egg from breaking when dropped from a pre-determined height. The egg must survive the fall without breaking.

Event Info and Registration Procedures
  • Egg drop registration begins at 8:30 A.M. on the day of the event, and closes at 10:00 A.M.
  • Sign in at the Games Registration Tent, located near the main registration tent, to schedule a drop time.
  • Once the device is registered it will be turned over for impound and no further modifications will be allowed before the competition.
  • Time slots will be set up in 30-minute increments, in which eggs from multiple teams will be dropped.
  • The first drop will begin at 8:45 A.M.
  • At least one member from your team must be present during your team’s designated egg drop time.
  • The final egg drop heat will begin at 12:45 A.M. 
  • First, second, and third place will be awarded per team.
Device Specifications
  • Eggs will be provided on the day of the event.
  • No store-bought devices or kits are to be used.
  • Materials which are not allowed in the construction of the device include balloons (or devices filled with a gas other than air), gels, pastes, potentially explosive/combustive/dangerous/hazardous materials, or packaging materials (bubble-wrap, soft Styrofoam, peanuts, etc). Examples of other restricted materials include but are not limited to: peanut butter, Jello, and helium.
  • Device must fit inside of a box with dimensions: 10cm x 10cm x 10cm.
  • Maximum weight limit of 65 grams.
  • The number of parts used to construct the device will be counted on day of the contest. Each individual structural component will count as one piece, and a judge will decide the official number of parts at the time of registration. This will affect scoring (see scoring equation below).
  • A circular area with a 15ft diameter, which also serves as the safety zone during the egg drops, marks the Drop zone.
Competition Rules
  • Each team may have a maximum of two people per egg device. Schools may have an unlimited number of teams or individuals participating, provided each team has unique design and the device is clearly labeled with team members’ names and school.
  • Devices will be weighed on the day of competition without an egg inside.
  • Eggs will be provided for the competition. Contestants will be allowed to inspect and select their egg.
  • All eggs will be the same type (raw, store-bought Grade A, large, chicken eggs).
  • Devices will be dropped out of a bucket truck at a height of 30±5 feet.
  • After dropping, eggs must be removed from devices and cleaned off (if necessary) in front of judges. The judges will then inspect the egg for cracks.
  • Contestants must clean any residue or material left on the surface impacted, or the device will be disqualified.
  • The device with the lowest non-zero score wins. The score will be calculated using the following equation:

W = weight of the device in grams
N = number of parts
DZ = drop zone (2 inside drop zone or 4 outside drop-zone)
EIF = Egg integrity Factor (1 = not cracked or 0 = cracked)


Balsa Wood Bridge Competition Rules – Team or Individual Event


The objective of this event is to design and build the lightest bridge capable of supporting a given load over a given span.

Bridge Registration
  • Registration will begin at 8:30 AM, and end at 10 AM.
  • Sign in at the Games Registration Tent, located near the main registration tent. Competition location will be announced during registration.
  • Once the device is registered it will be turned over for impound and no further modifications will be allowed before the competition.
  • The bridge will be evaluated to determine if it meets the specifications provided.
  • Each school may bring two bridges (there is a maximum of two teams per school), and each team can have a maximum of four team members.
Bridge Construction
  • All construction must be completed prior to the event using balsa wood ONLY and white Elmer’s glue only. No other glue, screws, nails, wood, or other mechanical or chemical fasteners.
  • The bridge may not be coated with any material.
  • The bridge must allow the passage of one standard Hot Wheel’s Car along the entire length.
  • Bridge Span:
  • Must span the 350mm opening. There is no maximum length.
  • The bridge must have a minimum width of 80mm throughout the entire cross-section of the bridge.
  • No portion of the bridge may extend more than 15mm below the top surface of the test supports.
  • The road surface is defined as the surface that will allow a standard Hot Wheel Car to pass the length. However, the road surface does not need to be solid.
Bridge Loading
  • The load point will be at the center of the bridge.
  • The bridge must accommodate a 50mm long x 80mm wide x 20mm high loading block, ¼” eyebolt, washer, and wing-nut. The loading block is set up such a way that it will sit on the road surface and the sand bucket will hang from this block. Therefore, if the road surface used is solid, there will need to be a hole at the center of the bridge so the eyebolt attached to the load block can pass through the bridge.
  • All bridges that met the specifications during registration will be tested.
  • Teams must be present for the loading and testing.
  • All safety equipment will be provided for the competition.
  • Placing one end on a 50mm high wooden block will incline the bridge. The Hot Whee1s Car will be placed on the elevated portion of the bridge and will be allowed to roll down its entire length. If the car gets stuck, the students are allowed two restarts. If the car still does not pass after two restarts, a penalty of 2 kg will be deducted from the sustained load until the car passes through (for example, if the bridge holds 20 kg and it takes the car 3 tries to get down the bridge, the bridge will be treated as if it only holds 18 kg).
  • The event supervisor will provide the Hot Wheels car.
  • The bridge will be centered on the testing apparatus, containing a 350mm opening between the bridge supports.
  • The loading block will be placed at the load point of the bridge. The eyebolt will be pushed up through the bridge and loading block from below and secured with a wing-nut and washer on top of the loading block. A standard 5-gallon plastic bucket (approx. 30cm diameter) will be suspended from the eyebolt.
  • The student will add sand to the bucket until failure occurs or the maximum load of 25 kg is reached. Two students will be allowed to test. One may scoop the sand into the bucket while the other steadies the bucket. The student who scoops sand into the bucket is required to wait 5 seconds between adding an additional scoop to be sure the bridge can sustain the load. The load must be applied in a reasonable amount of time. Hint: There is no advantage to build a bridge that will hold more than 25 kilograms.
  • The bridge must support a 5kg load for a minimum of 5 seconds to qualify for scoring.
  • The load used for scoring will be the weight of the bucket and sand only.


The winner will be determined by the largest load/mass ratio with 25kg as the maximum load.

Mystery Challenge Competition Rules – Team or Individual Event


The purpose of this competition is for students to design, construct, and build a Mystery Design project. 

Event Info and Registration Procedures
  • Registration for this event begins at 8:30 A.M. at Games Registration tent.
  • Competition begins at 9:30A.M, and all participants will compete at the same time for this competition. 
  • Students will have up to one hour to design, construct, and build a mystery design for testing. Actual time limit for this event will be given on day of competition.
  • Schools may have up to two teams entering the competition. Each team will be made up of a maximum of 3 team members.
  • All materials will be provided. Only the materials provided may be used to complete the Mystery Design project.
  • Mystery Design parameters and time limit will be provided when competition begins.
  • Prizes will be awarded for first, second, and third place teams.