The 9th Annual K-12 Computational Thinking Competition 2018


The 9th Annual K-12 Computational Thinking Competition 2018

Saturday, April 14, 2018!

ISU Campus

Online registration is required and will be available on this page. The tentative registration deadline is April 7, 2018.

The competition has a Science Fair like format where contestants come prepared to present their project to judges. It is a great educational event. Participants learn to present their own work as well as to learn about all the other exciting projects!

We offer three great prizes in each of the four entry categories. Prizes include, but not limited to, laptops, tablets, and Raspberry PIs.

•    K - 3rd Grade
•    4th - 6th Grade
•    7th - 9th Grade
•    10th - 12th Grade

Project Choice

The project choice depends on the interests of the students involved. The project could come from any school subject, but projects are probably easier to find in science or mathematics classes. The thing to look for in choosing a project for this competition is, does the project pose a problem (task) that can be solved using computational thinking?

Definition of Computational Thinking

Computational Thinking has three foundational elements: Computational Model, Abstraction, and Algorithm. Start with a problem. Use abstraction to focus on important aspects of the problem to be solved. This simplifies the problem. Design an algorithm that solves the problem. Next, pick a suitable computational model and implement your step-by-step algorithm using the selected computational model.

Computational Model

Definition of a Computational Model (note that the use of a computer is not required.)

•    There must be an instruction set.
•    The Computational Model must be able to store data and have the ability to support abstraction.
•    The instruction set must be able to operate on the data.
•    The Computational Model must support input (a way to get data into the model) and output (results of the solution need to be visible to the judges).

Annual Competition Rules and Judging Rubric

Each entry (individual or team) must have a project that requires a solution and the solution must be solved using computational thinking. Each student will present their project to a team of judges. Judges will rate the entries on:

•    Difficulty of the problem posed by the project
•    Cleverness of the solution to the problem
•    Appropriateness and cleverness of the computational model
•    Ability of the student(s) to explain how the project works

Each individual (or team) should clearly demonstrate his/her own contribution by explaining the sequence of steps used in solving the problem. If the project is based on others' work, it should be clearly specified so that judges understand the individual (or team) contribution.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the competition for individual projects only or can a pair or small group of students submit a single project?

Prizes are distributed as individual prizes (computers, tablets, etc.) However, groups may submit a single project in the competition, but if they win their division, they will have to figure out among themselves how to split the prize. Group projects have the same required criteria as individual projects.

Do contestants create the projects at the competition or do they have to bring a project that they already created?

Contestants must have a completed project that they demonstrate to the judges at the competition. No work on projects is done during the competition. We encourage contestants to attend a "Adventure into Computing" workshop during the school year. Many contestants can think of projects with help from our workshop volunteers.

Do projects have to be related to schoolwork, or connected to a school subject?

No, projects may be related to any topic of interest to the student.

What are examples of computational models?

Projects do not require a computer. Computational models can be demonstrated in many different ways. Judges will look for cleverness and creativity in devising a solution to a problem using computational thinking (not necessarily using computer programming!). Sign up for our "Adventure into Computing" workshops to learn more.

The 2018 competition is co-sponsored by Rockwell Collins and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at ISU.

Questions? Email us:

2017 Competition