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Real World Design Challenge 2022 registration is open

October 5, 2021

Logo for Real World Design Challenge
Group picture of dozens of Real World Design Challenge participants

Register for 2022 Real World Design Challenge here

Teams that register now will get early access to challenge materials.

The Real World Design Challenge

The Real World Design Challenge (RWDC) is an annual competition that provides high school students, grades 9-12, the opportunity to work on real world engineering challenges in a team environment. Each year, student teams will be asked to address a challenge that confronts our nation's leading industries. Students will utilize professional engineering software to develop their solutions and will also generate presentations that convincingly demonstrate the value of their solutions. The RWDC provides students with opportunities to apply the lessons of the classroom to the technical problems that are being faced in the workplace.

Operating during COVID

This year, we are committed to continuing the competition and hope we can be a stable academic activity for students to continue to participate in as schools plan for a mix of virtual and in person classes for the 2021/2022 school year. RWDC can be done in person, virtually, or as some combination of both. This year we are prepared to continue with teams working on their papers for the state competition between now and January. The state competition has always been done virtually and will continue to do so.

The national/International finals will be virtual. The format will still be a combination of a revised notebook and a presentation however the presentations for the national/international finals will be done virtually.

Steps for Competing in the Challenge

1. Register a team

To register your teams fill out the form Teams are made up of 3-7 students in grades 9-12. Each team needs a coach who is a teacher or other adult to help organize the team and act as the point of contact for the team. You may change or add team members through the registration period as needed. Coaches may have as many teams as they want but students may only be on one team.

2. Go to the “Getting Started” page and find your resources

The Getting Started page has a lot of important resources for teams. Go to the Getting Started page and find the following important Challenge materials:

  • Challenge Statement - provides an overview of the engineering problem you will be solving this in this years challenge.
  • Detailed Background (coming soon)- provides background information on the Challenge and adds detail to the Challenge Statement.
  • Engineering Design Notebook Template (coming soon)- is a Word document provides the specific format detailing what section are needed in the Engineering Design Notebook so it is aligned with the Scoring Rubric.
  • Scoring Rubric (coming coon)– Ultimately teams are graded on the submission of an Engineering Design Notebook that details the teams’ design. The Scoring Rubric explains what is expected in the Engineering Design Notebook and provides details on how the Engineering Design Notebook is scored.
  • Student/Coaches/Teachers Guide (coming soon)- is a reference for Teams. It provides greater detail on what needs to be done through out the competition.

3. Work on the Challenge

Ultimately, you will need to prepare and submit an Engineering Design Notebook. Teams of judges will evaluate your work based on what you submit in your Engineering Design Notebook. Your team should look through the Scoring Rubric and begin to do research to design a system to address the questions posed in the Scoring Rubric. The headings in the Scoring Rubric should be used as the headings in your Engineering Design Notebook. Fill in sections of the Engineering Design Notebook as you complete the work in each section. On the getting started page you will also find software, webinars, and a survey.

4. Submit your solution by the deadline.

You should turn your Engineering Design Notebook to your State Coordinator and to Jeff Coppola ( The deadline is posted here. We are providing $50,000 scholarships from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to each student on the International Champion team.

-- Information submitted by Lt. Col. Bob Gilbert, DCS/AE Southeast Region and an RWDC master judge


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