REACH Challenge



Q: What is REACH Challenge?

A: Through REACH Challenge, students will have an opportunity to use their STEM skills to REACH a member of their community who has a challenge to overcome. Focusing on the empathy and user-centered design portions of the engineering design process, students will work with their User-Expert to identify a specific challenge, and design and create a viable adaptive or assistive technological solution to this problem. Teams can then submit a short technical paper as well as a video describing their project to earn awards from ITEEA. Click here for an example:


Q: How do I sign up for REACH Challenge?

A: You can begin registering your team by clicking here.


Q: How much does it cost to participate in REACH Challenge and what is included?

A: Registration fee includes access to the REACH Challenge Toolkit, a valuable set of activities, lesson plans, and slide presentations that are designed to teach students about User-Centered Design, Adaptive and Assistive Technology, Empathy, Prototyping, Intellectual Property, and more. Teams will also have help finding a User-Expert, as well as the ability to submit the team’s project for awards from ITEEA.


ITEEA Members receive a discounted rate for REACH Challenge Registration. Join ITEEA for a variety of reasons but a recent Membership Survey indicated that the top reasons our members join are: To stay abreast of the latest trends in the field, attend and/or present at the ITEEA Annual Conference, network with like-minded individuals and to be affiliated with THE organization that supports their profession. If you are interested in a membership, follow this link and become an ITEEA Member! 


ITEEA Member - $200 for one team | $180/team for multiple teams

ITEEA Non-Member - $375/team



Q: Who can participate on a REACH Challenge team?

A: Any student from Grades 7 through 12 as well as undergraduate college students may be on a team. Each REACH Challenge Team shall consist of one TEAM LEAD (usually a teacher), one to twelve STUDENT(s), and one USER-EXPERT. Any USER-EXPERT that is a person under the age of 18, or is an animal, should be considered to be a Co-USER-EXPERT along with their primary caretaker. Teams may also have an optional TEAM MENTOR. 



Q: Can I do REACH Challenge even if I'm teaching online classes?

A: YES! New for 2020, we have added a new "Design from a Distance" section to the Toolkit. It includes video lectures, online quizzes through Kahoot, and online-friendly worksheets, activities and resources to help your team learn to help others and be successful in REACH Challenge.


Q: What does each participating team need to submit for REACH Challenge?

A: Each team will submit a 3-5 page Technical Paper (plus sources and a bill of materials) as well as a 3-minute Video that describes their project. A sample Technical Paper is included in the REACH Challenge Toolkit. For an example Video, click here:


Q: What are the important dates to know for REACH Challenge participants?

A: Planned dates are as follows, ITEEA Reserves the right to modify dates with notification:


Friday, November 6, 2020 (11:59pm EST)

Deadline for enrollment.


January 15, 2021 (4:00pm EST): (deadline extended to accomidate any distance-learning issues)

Deadline for final submissions. TEAM LEADs must submit all REACH Challenge materials

to ITEEA per the guidelines in order to be eligible for recognition.


February 2021:

Teams are notified of their placement. ITEEA will also share the list as part of an official press release and on the ITEEA website.


Q: Do teams have to be affiliated with a school?

A: No, teams can also be formed from community organizations, home-school groups, robotics teams, or any other group of students with an adult leader. At the collegiate level, students from all majors and backgrounds are welcome to participate.


Q: Can teachers have more than one team of students?

A: Yes, a teacher can be a TEAM LEAD of multiple teams, but students can only participate on one team.



Q: Do I need to know which students will be on a team before I register for the REACH Challenge?

A: No. When you register for REACH Challenge, you get instant access to the entire Toolkit. You do not need to know exactly which students will be on a team at that time. Registration simply gives access to the Toolkit and your ITEEA dashboard to create your team's roster whenever you are ready to do so.


Q: Who owns the Intellectual Property of the team’s invention?

A: Each team retains its intellectual property over their submission. By submitting for the REACH Challenge, teams grant ITEEA permission to publish the submission, in whole or part, in conjunction with any publication or event noting, commenting on or discussing the ITEEA REACH Challenge participants. In any such publication, credit shall be given to the team as provided on the TEAM ROSTER.


Q: What are the major roles on a REACH Challenge team?

A: Each REACH Challenge Team consists of:

One adult TEAM LEAD:

  • The TEAM LEAD is the main contact for the team and is responsible for registering their team and submitting their project/solution according to the guidelines provided.
  • Middle and High School Teams will often have a teacher or educator as their TEAM LEAD.
  • Collegiate Teams may have any educator, adviser, or student team member over the age of 21 as their TEAM LEAD. 
  • A single person may serve as the TEAM LEAD for multiple teams.

One adult TEAM MENTOR (optional):

  • Each team may also have no more than one (1) other adult TEAM MENTOR that assists with the design and creation of the team’s solution. 
  • Examples of a TEAM MENTOR include mechanical engineers, computer programmers, additional teachers, parents, etc. that help the team throughout the project.
  • Professionals that are consulted for information like physical/occupational therapists, doctors, nurses, etc. during the project are not considered a TEAM MENTOR, unless the team wishes to do so.

At least one (1) but not more than ten (10) STUDENT(s)

  • Each STUDENT may only participate on one (1) REACH Challenge Team.


  • The USER-EXPERT is the individual for whom the product/solution is being developed. This is the User in User-Centered Design.
  • Any USER-EXPERT that is a person under the age of 18, or is an animal, should be considered to be a Co-USER-EXPERT along with their primary caretaker.
  • It is recommended that a USER-EXPERT be at least 2 years of age.


Q: How are awards and winners judged?

A: All submissions will go through two levels of evaluation. The first will determine the Finalists for the REACH Challenge based on the scoring rubric in the submission guidelines document. All Finalists will then be judged by a panel of individuals selected by ITEEA


Q. Can we make our invention public?

A.Teams are discouraged from making their AT invention public until after the winners are announced in February, as to not impact judging. Once winners are announced, we encourage teams to spread the word about what they’ve made through REACH Challenge!