(Note: For a K-2 Primary Team you could simplify this by eliminating communicators and blindfold.)

When the team members enter the room, tell them, “This is a hands-on problem.  You will have one minute to select the five team members who will compete.  The others may leave the room or stay to watch, but may not assist and must sit in these seats (indicate seats for non-performing team members.)

JUDGE READS TO TEAM (Do not read the material in italics):

This is a two-part problem.  In Part 1 you may plan, develop a communication system, and build your transportation device.  In Part 2, you will use your device to accumulate score.  At NO time may you alter the materials in the target area.  At NO time may you enter the target area.

In Part 1 you will have 5 minutes to plan and work, and in Part 2 you will have 4 minutes to solve the problem.  In Part 1 your may talk as you wish; in Part 2, you may not talk or communicate verbally in any way.

Your problem is to build a device to transport marbles from the stockpile area into the target area for score.  One team member will act as transporter and will be blindfolded in Part 2, and must transport the marbles without seeing the targets.  Thus, you will need to assign some team members to communicate NON-VERBALLY with the team member acting as transporters.  You may change roles to allow another person to become the transporter in Part 2, but time will continue.  You may have no more than 2 transporters total during your 4 minutes.

All marbles will be placed in the stockpile area when Part 2 begins, and the transporter will be blindfolded in the transporter area.  ONLY the transporter may use the transportation device in Part 2.  Team members in the stockpile area (suppliers) will place the marbles one at a time into the device that the transporter reaches across the target area.  Team members in the stockpile area will communicate non-verbally to tell the transporter where to put the marbles. Only the transporter may touch the device once a marble has been put into it.

Marbles may only be transported one time:  once they are in the target area, they may not be retrieved.  ONLY ONE MARBLE may be transported at a time.  Only marbles in the containers at the end of Part 2 will receive score.  If containers are moved or turned over, a judge will put them back in place; however any marbles that have fallen out of the containers will not be scored.  At no time may a team member touch any of the scoring containers in the target area.  You may not put more than ONE marble in a transportation device at a time.  Marble must be put into the device in the stockpile area, but the transporter must be holding the device.  Thus the transporter will need to reach across the target area with the device to have a marble placed in the device, one at a time from the supplier in the stockpile area.  (Judge may demonstrate here how the transporter should reach across the 5-foot distance so teammates can put a marble into the device.)


In Part 1, your team may use the materials given to build a transport device, develop a non-verbal communication system, choose who will transport the marbles, choose who will communicate non-verbally, and choose who will be providers (put marbles into the devices).  During Part 1, you may practice.  However, remember that at no time may you alter the materials in the target area or enter the target area. 

(Repeat: PART 1:  In Part 1, your team ….)

You have 5 minutes for Part 1.  Here are your building materials and marbles for practice.  (Give team the container with materials.) Time begins now.

(Note to judge:  Allow 5 minutes for Part 1.  At the end of Part 1, ask transporter (or transporters, if there will be two who take turns) to move into the transportation area and all other team members to move into the stockpile area.  Use a clean bandana or scarf to blindfold the transporter after he/she is in position behind the line.  Gather the marbles back into the container and give the other team members the container with marbles in the stockpile area.  Then, read the following:)


Your team now has 4 minutes after time begins to transport marbles for score.  During Part 2, you may not communicate with any words or verbal sounds.  You must put only ONE marble in a transportation device at a time.  That one marble must be transported into the target area and released before another marble may be put into the device.  All marbles must be put into the device IN THE STOCKPILE AREA by the “supplier(s)”.  

(Repeat “PART 2:  Your team ….” )

You have 4 minutes to perform for score.   Begin NOW.  (Judge times 4 minutes.)


Before the team enters the room, lay out the target area as indicated in the diagram below.  You may use tape on a hard floor or strips of ribbon or even dowels to mark the 5-foot distance on carpet.  Be sure to label each container to indicate how many points it is worth.  You may write on the container itself with a marker, or may place index cards beside the containers to indicate point value.

Give each team the following:

A container with 25 marbles

A grocery bag with the following items.

1 yardstick; 1 ruler; 1 ladle, 1 8-ounce paper (or plastic) cup; 1 8 ˝ x 11” sheet of paper; one #10 envelope (business size); 1/2 egg carton; 2 rubber bands; 2 unsharpened pencils, 3 paper clips; 3 sticky labels; 1 6” piece of masking tape; 1 empty toilet paper roll; 1 soda bottle lid;

(You will also need two clean bandanas or scarves for each team, to use as blindfolds for up to 2 transporters.)

Place FIVE containers into the target area as shown.  These may be Tupperware® containers, clean tin cans, margarine containers, etc.  But one should be large (about 8”-10” in diameter, worth the least points), three should be smaller (about 5” in diameter), and one should be very small (about 2-3” in diameter.)

                                                                        5 feet

                                                                   10 points             25 points


                         Transporter                                      5 points                        Stockpile

                        Area                                                                                        Area

                        (Transporters)                                                                        (Communicators & Suppliers)

                                                                10 points              10 points


(Note to judges:          Teams may stand, kneel, lie or sit – but do not tell them this.  Teams may communicate using sounds made by body parts (such as clapping) – but do  not tell them this, either J.)