challenge guidelines : LUSENET : Junkyard Wars : One Thread

I see a lot of people tossing out challenge ideas, but keep in mind the following guidelines that make a challenge a great challenge:

1) Feasibility (so nuclear reactors, liquid fueled rockets, and explosives are probably right out). Bonus points if there are several good approaches to the design.

2) Construction actively involves the whole team, extra points if the challenge actively involves the whole team also.

3) Probably most importantly, illustrates a scientific concept. Look at the world around you for ideas. How does (insert here) machine work? Now build a challenge around it. Bonus points if said scientific concept is not well understood by the public.

There are other guidelines (noisy challenges, or challenges with lots of "eye candy" are a plus), but these are probably the "big 3".

(To reply in email replace blort dot invalid with anime dot net)

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-- Dan Hollis (goemon@blort.invalid), January 16, 2001


Another thing to think about is, are there (at least) two different scientific concepts that can be illustrated by the two teams? For instance in the Giant Mower episode in Series 3, there was a multi- mower with rotating blades against a traditional mower with scissor cutter bar (li nk). Obviously we can't force the teams to build machines that demonstrate the concepts that we thought would be interesting - but it is a good place to start when considering a challenge.

In short, if when suggesting a challenge you can suggest two or more different ways of building a machine to meet that challenge, then that starts to make and exciting and feasible challenge.

-- Andy Bell (, January 16, 2001.

There are a couple more criteria that are important for practicality purposes:

1) the machine to be built must do interesting things that will hold the audience's attention.

2) the machine must be easily built, transported and handled (which means nothing big like the merry-go-around someone previously proposed!)

3) there must be some sort of exciting contest for the teams to put the machines through its paces, with a discernable outcome (whose is fastest, whose is more powerful, etc.)

-- Thomas (, January 16, 2001.

Hey Dan I agree about the nukes, but they already used explosives on the show. If you don't remember it, the teams built a cannon. One used black powder, the other modern smokeless powder. The black powder cannon shot well, drilled the target . The other :) a hopeless flop it shot the barrel about 5 ft. The bullet got stuck in it everytime. LOL They had to keep cutting the barrel shorter & shorter to get the bullet out. They started with a barrel about 10 ft long ,the last shot in was down to about 4 ft. It was priceless. LMAO

-- Rick Lawrence (, January 16, 2001.

Well by explosives I meant that something like challenging the teams to demolish buildings using DIY-dynamite vs DIY-C4 is probably a bad idea.

Small controlled explosions as in the cannon episode is ok, but since it was so dangerous, a lot of the competetion revolved around safety procedures. Any more dangerous than that and it would probably have been impractical for a challenge.

(To reply in email replace blort dot invalid with anime dot net)

-- Dan Hollis (goemon@blort.invalid), January 16, 2001.

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