Middle School Events

The following information provides only a basic description of each event. Please consult Middle School National TSA Conference Competitive Events Guide for detailed specifications and rules regarding each event.  The online guide will become available to you after you complete your affiliation.


To address the annual theme, participants select a contemporary biotechnology issue and demonstrate understanding of the topic through their documented research and an original display. Semifinalists participate in an interview.

CAD Foundations

Participants demonstrate their understanding of CAD fundamentals by creating a two-dimensional (2-D) graphic representation of an engineering part or object and answering questions from evaluators about their entry.

Career Prep

Based on the annual theme, participants conduct research on a technology-related career, prepare a letter of introduction to a potential employer, and develop a job-specific resume. Semifinalists participate in a mock job interview.

Challenging Technology Issues

Following the onsite random selection of a technology topic from a group of pre-conference posted topics, participants work to prepare for and deliver a debate-style presentation, in which they explain opposing views of the selected topic.

Chapter Team

Participants take a parliamentary procedure written test to qualify for the semifinal round of competition. Semifinalists conduct an opening ceremony, items of business, parliamentary actions, and a closing ceremony.

Children’s Stories

Participants create an illustrated children’s story based on the annual theme. The entry product is a physical storybook of artistic, instructional, and social value. Semifinalists read their story aloud and participate in an interview.


To qualify for the semifinal round of competition, participants take a written test that concentrates on computer science and coding. Semifinalists demonstrate their programming knowledge by developing a solution to an onsite coding challenge. 

Community Service Video

Participants create a video that depicts the local TSA chapter’s involvement in a community service project. Semifinalists deliver a presentation on the project and participate in an interview.

Construction Challenge

Participants submit a scale model, display, and documentation portfolio for a design that fulfills a community need related to construction. Semifinalists deliver a presentation about their entry and participate in an interview.

Cybersecurity Foundations

Participants take a written test that assesses knowledge of cybersecurity vocabulary and the skills needed to execute common cybersecurity tasks. Using digital presentation software, semifinalists deliver a presentation that addresses the annual theme/problem.

Data Science and Analytics

Participants conduct research on the annual topic, collect data, use analytics to assess the data and make predictions, and document their work in a portfolio and a display. To address a challenge presented onsite at the conference, semifinalists review specific data sets, provide insights, make predictions, and present their findings for evaluation. 

Digital Photography

Participants produce and submit a digital photographic portfolio that relates to the annual theme. Semifinalists participate in an onsite photographic challenge and a presentation/interview.


Participants design, draw, and construct a CO2-powered dragster that adheres to the annual specifications, design and documentation requirements, and theme. Semifinalists participate in an interview and compete in a double-elimination race.

Electrical Applications

Participants take a written test on basic electrical and electronic theory. In response to an onsite challenge, semifinalists assemble a specified circuit from a schematic diagram, make required electrical measurements, and explain their solution in an interview.

Essays on Technology

Participants conduct research on specific subtopics from a broad technology area posted as part of the annual theme. Using a previously prepared note card as an approved resource, participants draft an outline of the subtopic randomly selected onsite at the conference. Semifinalists write an essay on that subtopic.


Participants submit a documentation portfolio and fabricate a glider designed to stay in flight for the greatest elapsed time. Semifinalists use their technical drawing skills to construct a glider that is flown onsite.

Forensic Technology

Participants take a written test of basic forensic science theory to qualify for the semifinal round of competition. Semifinalists participate in an onsite forensic skills demonstration.

Inventions and Innovations

To address the annual theme, participants research a need - and brainstorm a solution - for an invention or innovation of a device, system, or process. Participants document their work in an interactive display and the creation of a model/prototype. Semifinalists deliver a presentation about their work and participate in an interview.

Junior Solar Sprint (JSS)

Participants apply STEM concepts, creativity, teamwork, and problem-solving skills to design, construct, and race a solar-powered model car. Documentation of the process is required. Learn more about JSS, then register on Cvent to begin the JSS journey.

Leadership Strategies

Participants prepare for and deliver a presentation about a specific challenge that officers of a TSA chapter might encounter. Semifinalists follow the same competition procedure but must respond to a different chapter challenge.

Mass Production

Participants manufacture a marketable product that addresses the annual theme. The development of the product prototype is documented in a portfolio that presents participant knowledge and skills related to the mass production process. Through a demonstration of the prototype and an interview, semifinalists support the viability of the prototype.

Mechanical Engineering

Participants design, document, and build a mechanical device (mousetrap car) that incorporates the elements of the annual theme/problem – and then race the car. Finalists are determined based on an evaluation of the documentation portfolio, the race exit interview, and the race placement.

Medical Technology

Participants conduct research on a contemporary medical technology issue related to the annual theme, document their research, create a display, and build a prototype. Semifinalists deliver a presentation about their entry and participate in an interview.

Microcontroller Design

To address the annual theme/problem, participants design and create a working digital device, document the development process, and demonstrate their product as part of a presentation.

Off the Grid

Based on the annual theme, participants conduct research on a sustainable architectural design for a home in a country not their own. Participants produce a portfolio and create a display and a model. Semifinalists present their design and participate in an interview.

Prepared Speech

Participants deliver a timed speech that relates to the theme of the current national TSA conference. Semifinalists and finalists are determined using the same competition procedure.

Problem Solving

Participants use problem-solving skills to design and build a solution to an onsite challenge. Solutions are evaluated using measures appropriate to the challenge, such as elapsed time, horizontal or vertical distance, and/or strength.

Promotional Marketing

Participants create and submit a marketing portfolio and required elements that address the annual theme/problem. Semifinalists complete a layout and design assignment for evaluation.

STEM Animation

Participants design and create a STEM animation video and documentation portfolio to address the annual theme/problem. Semifinalists present their animation and explain the elements of their portfolio/entry.

Structural Engineering

Participants apply the principles of structural engineering to design and construct a structure that complies with the annual challenge. An assessment of the required documentation and the destructive testing of the structure (to determine its design efficiency) determine both semifinalists and finalists.

System Control Technology

In response to a challenge presented onsite at the conference, participants analyze a problem (typically one in an industrial setting), build and program a computer-controlled mechanical model to solve the problem, explain the program and the features of the mechanical model solution, and provide instructions for evaluators to operate the device.

Tech Bowl

Participants demonstrate their knowledge of TSA and concepts addressed in technology content standards by completing a written, objective test. Semifinalists participate in a head-to-head, team competition.

Technical Design

Participants demonstrate their ability to use the technical design process to solve an engineering design problem provided onsite at the conference. Required elements of the entry are presented in a portfolio that includes technical drawings for a minimum of three viable solutions.

VEX IQ Challenge

Participants collaborate on a robotics project - in which they build a robot that incorporates the relationship among STEM fields - culminating in a head-to-head game that evaluates the robot’s efficiency and productivity.

Video Game Design

Participants design, build, provide documentation for, and launch an E-rated, online game on a subject of their choice. Onsite at the conference, semifinalists deliver a presentation and participate in an interview to demonstrate the knowledge and expertise gained during the development of the game.


Participants use digital video technology to create original content about a pre-determined technology theme. Semifinalists compete in an onsite challenge to produce additional video(s) based on specified criteria, such as provided props, lines of dialog, and topics.

Website Design

To address the annual challenge, participants design, build, provide documentation for, and launch a website that incorporates the elements of website design, graphic layout, and proper coding techniques. Semifinalists participate in an interview to demonstrate the knowledge and expertise gained during the development of the website.