Important National and Regional Rules

Important Rules and Guidelines


Team Members Requirements

  1. Number of Members
    • Mousetrap Car and Waterbottle Rocket teams should have a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 4 members.
      • Teams can bring all four or only two members to the national competition for in-person competitions.
    • AI contest teams should have two members.
    • Essay, Logo Design, and Poster Design teams should have one member.
    • Students unable to participate in the competition due to illness or a family emergency can only be replaced by their team members. Hence, we recommend designating a third person as a substitute on your team if you are attending with a two-member team.
  2. Graduation
    • Students must be within three months of graduation to participate in SECME National.
      • For example, a senior who graduates in May 2024 is eligible to participate in the SECME National Competition until August 2024. (The contest date has not yet been set.)
  3. Age
    • Students who turn 18 by June 2024 can participate in regional competitions and placed; however, they will be ineligible to attend the national competition.
      • If you feel an exception should be made, please get in touch with the SECME National Office for guidance.

Design Competitions Requirements

  1. Designs for the Mousetrap Car and Water Bottle Rocket must be new designs constructed in the 2023-2024 academic year. Construction must be well documented (including budget receipts) in the engineering notebook.
  2. Donated and/or recycled materials must be documented in the engineering notebook.
  3. No 3-D printed components
  4. The MTC and Water Bottle Rocket (WBR) builds have a $10 maximum budget

Requirements for advancing to the national competition

  1. To be eligible to compete at the national level, teams competing in Essay, Mousetrap Car, and Water Bottle Rocket categories must first compete at the regional level.
  2. Teams that secure 1st place at the regional level are eligible to progress to the national competition.
    • Non-traveling teams include all elementary teams. These teams will compete regionally, and the winning teams will compete nationally through a remote competition, including videos and artifacts.
    • Middle and high school students and/or teams in the essay and water bottle rocket categories are non-traveling teams. They will compete regionally, and winning teams will compete nationally through a remote competition, including videos and artifacts.
    • Middle and high school teams in the mousetrap car will compete regionally and nationally in person.
  3. Any SECME student/team competing in the Logo Design, Poster Design, or AI competitions can compete directly in the national competition.
    1. Logo and poster design are non-traveling
    2. AI Competition is in person.

Chaperones’ Requirements – Traveling Teams to National Competition

  1. Districts or sponsoring organizations are responsible for background checks for chaperones.
  2. One chaperone per team. (if the team has both male and female students, two chaperones are needed: 1 male and one female)

Transportation Requirements – Traveling Teams to National Competition

  1. Teams will stay on the University of Florida campus throughout the national competition. Schools/districts/regional hosts are responsible for getting their teams to and from the UF campus for the national competition. The University of Florida provides housing and meals.


SECME engineering design competitions are intended to challenge SECME student participants and develop essential skills for their futures as STEM professionals. Vehicle designs must be original for the 2023-2024 school year. Submissions of essays, illustrations, vehicle designs, engineering notebooks, technical drawings, logos, videos, and PowerPoint presentations should be solely the work of the SECME student participants. Plagiarism is prohibited. Remember that PLAGIARISM is taking someone else’s work or ideas and passing them off as one’s own or using your old work and passing it off as new (self-plagiarism). Plagiarism goes against SECME’s core values, and students and/or teams will be automatically disqualified.

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