2021 Competition

Virtual Puzzle Decoding


A team of engineers have used their knowledge of mechanical, electrical, and software engineering to create challenging puzzles consisting of various degrees of circuitry and Arduino code. Your task is to decode as many puzzles as you can. Your effectiveness in decoding these puzzles (see the grading criteria) will be compared to the other participants for a chance to win prizes.

Unlike previous competitions, this year is completely virtual. Engineers rely everyday on digital engineering tools to design, simulate, and test their products. This saves time, resources, and money since online prototypes do not have material costs, can be made and edited more quickly and easily, and can be simulated at faster-than-real-time speeds. This competition uses a digital engineering tool called tinkercad to emulate this engineering environment!

Click on each link to learn more about each puzzle


The puzzles are created in a tool called Tinkercad which promotes digital engineering. To view the puzzles and tutorials, make a free Tinkercad account.


Tinkercad contains three main sections: 3D Designs, Circuits, and Codeblocks. The puzzles are of the Circuits type.

To get started, access the Learn Arduino page to take tutorial projects. These projects will walk you through how to use the tool and Arduino to perform simple tasks. These skills will help you understand the puzzles so that you can decode them.


Calculation of Final Score

The final score will be the sum of the total points from Puzzle 1, Puzzle 2, and Puzzle 3. The competitor does not have to complete all of the puzzles to receive a final score. To receive points for the puzzles, the user must describe how they decoded the puzzle by analyzing the hardware and/or software. Guesses that end up working do not earn any points.

Puzzle 1 (5 pts)

· First Number Decoded: 1 pt

· Second Number Decoded: 2 pts

· Presentation Quality: 1-2 pts

Puzzle 2 (8 pts)

· Solution 1 Decoded: 1 pt

· Solution 2 Decoded: 2 pts

· Solution 3 Decoded: 3 pts

· Presentation Quality: 1-2 pts

Puzzle 3 (9 pts)

· Red LED Lit: 3 pts

· Green LED Lit: 4 pts

· Presentation Quality: 1-2 pts

TOTAL SCORE: _____ out of 22

Presentation Quality Description

1 – Competitor convinces the judges that they decoded the puzzle without guessing

2 – Competitor uses some sort of presentation media to prove they understand the puzzle

Presentation Guidelines:

  • Presentation should be no longer than 10 minutes

  • Judges will be looking for the student to explain each step that is needed to solve the puzzle and why each is the correct step (no guessing!)

  • Presentation material is required for full presentation points and is a good way to prove to the judges that you understand the puzzle

  • Examples of presentation material

    • Slideshow (PowerPoint or other)

    • Sketches and Diagrams

    • Poster

Competition Day

Thursday, May 13th, 2021 at 5 pm will be the virtual competition day, where students are able to present their solutions to the judges to score points to compete for the prizes. If students are unable to attend the virtual competition, they may submit a video of their solutions and explanations which will be judged and scored. This video must be submitted prior to the virtual competition. Students who attend the virtual competition get the benefit of being able to answer the judges’ questions to prove their understanding and potentially gain more points.

There will be a combination of monetary prizes for the top scoring individuals.

Competition Link: https://gdms.zoomgov.com/j/1616791284?pwd=OU8rbHVXYnNqdy9GN0phek8zdXhTQT09

Sign up for the competition by informing your teacher or emailing us directly at STEM.Pittsfield@gd-ms.com

Office Hours

There are virtual office hours every Tuesday and Wednesday from 5-6 pm for students to ask questions and receive assistance from GDMS engineers! Zoom links will update weekly.

Tuesday, 5/11 - https://gdms.zoomgov.com/j/1601900104?pwd=a1FHeVE4YzRnOXJ2blFpUHdwS0pXQT09

Wednesday, 5/12 - https://gdms.zoomgov.com/j/1601900104?pwd=a1FHeVE4YzRnOXJ2blFpUHdwS0pXQT09