Specification Clarification Questions

MESA does its best to ensure our specifications are as clear as possible. However, there are times during the Engineering Design Process rules need to be clarified. In those instances student participants may submit Specification Clarification Questions. Specification Clarification questions must be emailed to azmesa@email.arizona.edu or submitted via our webform at MESA Day Question. Questions should be discussed with MESA teachers prior to submission. Submitted questions should include your name, your school, and the MESA teacher should be copied on the email.

Question: When and Why did the National Competition and Mobile App Challenge change?

  • Answer: In February based on information MESA staff received from our schools about student interest, progress, and ability to complete projects for MESA Day, we decided that given the similarity of the challenges it was best to combine them to ensure that there were enough teams for competition at MESA Day. Deliverables for each challenge shifted slightly but are no too different from the original competitions to make them more challenging for the students. 

Question: What is the difference between the LEED certification and Building Features?

  • Response: Building features include aspects like location and amenities which are important decisions but not related to sustainability. See the rubric for more details about what features students should consider. LEED Certification specially addresses sustainability and is a standard that is used commonly.

Question: Will the students be presenting in person on MESA day? I need clarification from the specs. The presentation rubric has this line on the bottom "Sound: Voiceover was clear and easily heard" Is there a new rubric for the presentation that reflects that the team presents in person?

  • Answer: Students are presenting their designs in person at MESA Day. Specifications will not change and the area that discusses voiceover will be applied to students voices and voices used in any electronic media.

Question: What are students able to prepare ahead of time to support their work during Hack Attack? Can they bring a notebook with notes and/or Cypher tools?

  • Response: Students are allowed a notebook that can provide notes, including a cypher tool. They are not allowed to use any cellphones or secondary electronic devices to assist them.


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Question: We understand that we can use compressed air for our design. We are hoping you can clarify design parameter 2a. Is there a limit on psi? What does '150% of maximum launch pressure' mean? Thanks for your help!

  • Answer:
    • MESA has not set a maximum PSI for designs. Students will need to determine that but should take into consideration that higher PSI’s have the potential to be more dangerous and therefore higher safety requirements that could result in disqualification by judges if they feel the design is not safe to operate.
    • “150% of maximum launch pressure” means that if a team has determined that 25 psi is their max launch pressure, than they need to show proof that the design has been tested and is safe to operate at 150% of 25 psi which 37.5 PSI.

Question: Can teams use a ballista design for this challenge?

  • Answer: Yes, a ballista is acceptable. There are no restrictions on the types of devices teams can use, but teams should remember that judges may disqualify a design if they feel it is not safe to operate. Teams should make sure that they have detailed notes about safety features and many safe and successful tests to satisfy the judges at MESA Day.

Question: What surface will the cornhole target and cornhole launcher be sitting on during the competition?

  • Answer: The surface will be grass

Question: Why should teams use a remote trigger?

  • Answer: Safety is critical. Teams should incorporate a remote trigger so that they are not in the direct line of any moving parts. Remember that judges can disqualify a design if they feel it is unsafe to operate. 


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