SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — It was a classic school competition with a high-tech twist.

Hundreds of students from the fourth grade to high school gathered over the weekend to answer the challenge of designing a device that could survive a 10-foot drop and then deliver a payload of a penny up a 10-foot ramp.

The task needed to be achieved without any electronics or robotics.

“I think the tech challenge is a great event,” said Cupertino High student Sophie Jacquet. “It inspires us to be engineers later on. This is my first S.T.E.M. competition so it was something out of the box for me.”

The goal of the competition was to ramp up the students’ imaginations and get them interested in science.

“Giving up was not an option,” said Cupertino High’s Marie-Claire Norins. “We noticed in our very first meeting with our prototype, which was not very good, we saw that it had something in it.”

The designs were limited only by the students’ imaginations and the laws of physics. There were catapults and rubber-band power cars.

Some designs were clearly more successful than others, but organizers say the measure of success is how well they have inspired the Valley’s next crop of would-be innovators.

“It’s just a passion that a lot of students have — to participate in the tech challenge and do well,” said Cupertino High’s Ojas Mor. “It just shows how good and how talented they are.”

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