Design Challenge

About the 2020 VMSVC Design Challenge

Due to the COVID19 restrictions, the 2020 MSVC (Victoria) event cannot be held in its usual form. Therefore, an alternative event will be organised. This will be based on video, PowerPoint (self-playing) or poster submission.

Such an approach means:

  • Evidence of any physical testing can be presented to augment the quality of submission

  • Students can use online tools to progress a design – even if they have done nothing so far

  • Teachers have something that makes a foundation for STEM activities that can be done by students at home

  • The process of submitting the assessment is relatively easy

  • Students are still involved in creative engineering and design work on solving a challenge with the tools that they have

Focus of the Design Challenge

First of all, students should present a design that would meet the 2020 Regulations if it were built. Once that is achieved, submissions will be evaluated based on the demonstration of engineering design expertise.

There are 3 key aspects to engineering design expertise:

  1. Systemic thinking – considering how different aspects of a system can interact to bring about a desired outcome or cause issues

  2. The use of first principles – using theory or calculations to remove guesswork and the need for excessive experimentation (although of course testing is always ideal when possible to check assumptions)

  3. Framing – understanding what the challenge is and then viewing it in a manner that allows for a solution

Presentations that show the application of the above three in the development of the respective solar vehicle are those that will be most highly rated.

Assessment considerations

Note, for primary students we expect to see the use of theory (basic principles) more so than calculations (due to mathematical ability). Also, do not think of these as having any priority over each other – they are all important and worthy of attention.

This might seem difficult for students who were working on kit cars. However, we encourage those students to have a go at this virtual event. It is a great way to experience the process of designing their own car.

Finally, the assessment will be focused more on the overall design. Thus, students should not get too caught up in the finer details (like bearings and how parts are held together) until they have time permitting this.

Design Challenge Guidelines

  • Focus on a justification for all design decisions to convince judges you have a good design that meet the challenge

  • Videos and PowerPoints should be 5 minutes or less

  • Videos should be of MP4 format

  • Posters should be of A2 size – PowerPoint might prove to be an ideal tool to create the poster

  • Posters should be in PDF format

And remember, we understand that different student levels will provide different levels of quality. We just want to know what students designed and why.


  1. The submission is due by 11:59PM 18th October

  2. The design must meet the 2020 Regulations

  3. Include the name of the team in the file name of the file submitted


Below is an example video (for a made-up event - a solar plane) for reference on the type of thing the judges want to see (from those who submit a video). It is also on our Facebook page - Design Challenge example

If you want to use CAD, then an option is TinkerCAD

If you are looking for a screen recording application, then I recommend Screencast-O-Matic

Please contact us if you have any questions.