Update: The 2019 Make-a-thon challenges have been announced!

The 2019 293 SPIKE Make-a-thon is underway! We kicked off on Friday, September 20th to a fantastic cohort of 15 teams and 55 participants. But don’t worry: it’s not too late to sign up to join the challenge and compete for prizes. Check out our registration now to be a participant in the 293 SPIKE Innovation Fair on September 28th!

The 293 SPIKE Innovation Fair is open to the public! See our teams’ solutions: 10 am on September 28th!


The 293 SPIKE MAKE-A-THON is a one week engineering-design challenge for teams of 1-5 competitors. The competition is open to people of all ages and ability levels, and is a key feature of 293 SPIKE’s Inspiration Initiative.

Competition Details

Teams of 1-5 people registered for a fee. The challenge was revealed at a kick-off event at 6 p.m. on Friday, September 20th, at Hopewell Valley Central High School. Facilities for brainstorming and research were available to each team. Food (Pizza!) was also provided for the rest of the night to create a collaborative environment for teams to work together or separately.

At 10 a.m, on Saturday, September 28th, teams will reconvene at HVCHS for the SPIKE Innovation Fair to present their ideas, designs, and/or prototypes in an expo setting. A panel of judges will circulate the expo and select winning solutions. Winners will receive awesome prizes, which will be announced closer to the event. This event will be open and free to the public. Participants and visitors alike can see other solutions to the challenge, engage with each other and ALS organizations.

Please keep in mind that more details will be made available and the details above are subject to change. Check back with this site for updates.

Engineering with a Purpose

Besides being a fun community event, the 293 SPIKE MAKE-A-THON serves 293 SPIKE’s Inspiration efforts, which aim to increase awareness and interest in STEM and extend the benefits of STEM in its community. By not only being available to high school age groups, but also to middle school students, elementary school students, and adults who aged out of FIRST or have never been exposed to FIRST, the Make-a-thon engages completely new groups in the FIRST style of STEM education. This forms lasting connections with people, inspiring them to become involved in FIRST or the STEM community in general. We have already achieved success in this mission, bringing in multiple elementary school and community teams into the inaugural Make-a-thon.

The 293 SPIKE MAKE-A-THON not only aims to bring a diversity of age into local STEM, but also to make STEM available to communities that would not otherwise have access to it. 293 SPIKE supports Make-a-thon participants in as many ways as possible, including waiving the registration fee for teams that demonstrate need and having our shop open all week with team members ready to help.

Finally, the SPIKE Make-A-Thon aims to raise awareness of ALS and better the lives of ALS patients and their families. To realize this goal, 293 SPIKE is working with Deb Frabicatore, who runs an ALS fundraiser in honor of her brother; Sara Cooper, a local business professional who suffers from ALS; and Jodi O’Donnell, the founder of Hope Loves Company, a non-profit that runs camps for families affected by ALS.

Sara Cooper was diagnosed with ALS last year, forever changing her life. Participants are not only helping us to benefit those suffering from ALS, but directly contributing to the fight against this terrible disease.

Overall, the 293 SPIKE MAKE-A-THON further serves 293 SPIKE’s core value of pushing for better. We better ourselves through an engineering design challenge, we better community STEM by making that challenge accessible to everyone, and we better our greater community building our event around kindness, generosity, and gracious professionalism.

Interested? Register now!

Questions? Check out our FAQ page, or email our Chief Inspiration Officer at