Junk Drawer Races


Important Dates




Submit Your Project



Junk Drawer Races                                                                      

This program is funded by the Government of Ontario.

Government of Ontario

 Contest Sponsor: Paper Glider Planes


Introducing the first-ever Skills Ontario’s Junk Drawer Races! The contests under this program are open to students from Grades 2 - 12 within Ontario. Last year we launched Paper Glider Competition for grades 7-12 and this year we are announcing new competitions for different grades. Please refer to table below for these competitions.

Competition Grades Related Topics from Curriculum
Gravity Powered Robot Walker Race 2-3 Simple Machines | Movement| Strong and Stable Structures | Forces Causing Movement
Cardboard Car Race  4-5 Wheels | Forces Acting on Structures and Mechanisms
Paper Glider Competition 6-7 Flight Technology | Designing | Building | Testing | Centre of Gravity
Hydraulic Crane Challenge  8 Hydraulics | Fluids | Systems in Action
Cardboard Hovercraft Race 9-12 Manufacturing Technology | Technological Design | Transportation Technology


Number of Teams and their Size

One team of up to four (4) students can participate from every school for every contest. To ensure fairness and access to programs across the province, each school board is entitled to spaces at Elementary, Sr. Elementary and Secondary levels for both their online and in-person learning streams. If you have any questions or concerns about registration spaces for your school board, please contact the Competitions Coordinator at junkraces@skillsontario.com.


Important Dates

Note - These dates are subject to change.

Any changes will be based on health and safety guidelines issued by the provincial and federal government, school board/college policies regarding student travel and extra-curricular activities, and co-host location availability. Any date or location changes will be announced on our webpage, and notifications will be sent to participants who have already registered.

Event (All contests) Date
Registration for Regional Competitions Opens October 12th, 2021 at 9am
Registration for Regional Competitions Closes November 26 at 4pm
Submissions for Regional Competitions Due December 9th, 2021 at 3pm
Regional Competitions Winners Announced January 12, 2022 via Social Media
Championship Round Challenge Announced January 12, 2022
Championship Round Registration Opens January 12, 2022
Championship Round Registration Closes February 16, 2022 at 3pm
Championship Round Submissions Due February 23, 2022 at 3pm
Championship Round Winners Announced March 23, 2022 via Social Media


Regional and Championship Winners

You will be notified through the contact that registered your team. An email address must be associated with the team when registering so that future communication can be established during the length of the competition.


School Registration

Teams that are advancing to the Provincial Championship Round will be announced via a social media event on January 12th. Teams will also be notified via email that was used during registration for the regional round. Teams that are advancing to the championship do not need to pay any fees, but teachers are required to register again with the name of the team members this time.

Every team must register for the championship round to participate. Teachers can register the teams on behalf of their students like they did for the regional round. A link to register for the championship round will be shared via email.

Registration Confirmation Email

A confirmation email will be sent to the registering email. This confirmation email will be sent within 5 business days of registering. A team is not registered for the program until a confirmation email is sent. If the confirmation email is not received within 5 business days, please contact Skills Ontario at junkraces@skillsontario.com.  Please be sure to check your SPAM folders.

Registration closes on Wednesday, February 16th at 3:00pm. No exceptions.


Register your championship team here:




Competition Grades Document(s)
Gravity Powered Robot Walker Race 2-3

Championship Guidelines

Mandatory Safety Checklist

Additional Videos*:



Cardboard Car Race  4-5

Championship Guidelines

Mandatory Safety Checklist

Additional Videos*:




Paper Glider Competition 6-7

Championship Guidelines

Mandatory Safety Checklist

Additional Videos*:



Hydraulic Crane Challenge  8

Championship Guidelines

Test Drawing

Mandatory Safety Checklist

Additional Videos*:




Cardboard Hovercraft Race 9-12

Championship Guidelines

Mandatory Safety Checklist

Additional Videos*:



 * Note: The additonal videos are for reference only, you may learn from these, but your submission shouldn’t be identical. If it is found to be identical by the judges, your submission may not be considered for marking.

 Tips and tricks:
1. There are videos included for reference in your guideline – try and learn from them and make your prototype to work better.
Gravity Powered Robot Walker Race
2. You are allowed to nudge your robot on the ramp if it stops before completing the distance.
Cardboard Car Race
3. Did you know that the size of the wheel of your car be up to 6 cm in radius? A bigger wheel may help you cover more ground with the same number of rotations.
4. Some rubber on the wheels can help it get a better grip.
Hydraulic Crane Challenge
5. You are allowed to use old batteries and coins as a counterweight for your crane to make it more stable.
6. For the load test, you can work as a team and complete the task quicker.
Cardboard Hovercraft Race
7. Try and lighten your hovercraft to make it move faster.
8. Placement of the motor and battery can also impact the movement of the hovercraft.

Further, refer to the scoring sheet, completing the test is just one part. You can score high points in all other areas and may still end up at a top position. Not all attempts have to be perfect, only the best attempt out of your three attempts will be marked, so don’t worry about a failed attempt in your submission video. If your prototype still doesn’t complete the task, it will still get some points.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: Can Virtual schools/hubs/classes register a team for Junk Drawer Races and are they being treated as a separate school?
A: Virtual schools/hubs can register one team per contest just like in-person schools. Virtual class/es of a school that also has in-person classes can only register one team per contest which can be either from an in-person class, virtual class, or a collaboration of both. Skills Ontario encourages teachers to conduct this challenge with multiple teams or inner school tournaments and submit the best time/ results!  This competition is also open to private schools.  

Q2: Is this contest completely virtual? Will there be live video submissions?
A: Yes, the contests are completely virtual, and students are required to submit a recorded video as a part of their submission process. . If a student does not have permission to be in photos used by the school in a public manner, please make sure that their image is not in any of the photos or video submissions.

Q3: Is there any registration fee to participate?
A: For 2021-2022 academic year, this is a pilot year and no registration fee will occur.

Q4: Who should register teams, does every student need to register?
A: Teachers can register team/s from their school. Individual students do not have to register for the regional round. Registration contacts do not need to register on teachers or student’s behalf. Teacher may register their own students. Please ensure only one team per race/ school is submitted.

Q5: Can a private school register a team for their students?
A: Private schools can participate in these contests and can register team/s for their students.

Q6: If teachers register themselves, will OYAP (and/or other related board contacts) be able to get a full list of their board registrants when registration closes?
A: Yes. Once registration closes full registration lists can be sent to registration contacts.

Q7: How does a virtual team of 4, submit a video if they cannot be together? Example:  virtual learning
A: Teams that cannot be together can meet virtually and decide the plan of action together. It will be the decision of the team/ teacher to divide the work equally among the team members. One student can detail the plan, the other can build it and submit it, and so on.

Q8: Who supplies the materials?
A:  All supplies are to be sourced by the teacher/ student. Each race has been created using items found around the house / classroom, recyclables, or easily available for little to no cost.

Q9: Can a 3D printer be used to print a propellor for Hovercraft Race?
A: Yes, students can 3D print a propellor if they like. Please ensure the radius to single propellor blade is no more than 40mm

Q10: Can a coroplast plastic sheet be used instead of corrugated cardboard?
A: Yes, students can recycle any coroplast plastic sheet they may have.

Q11: Where can we find the list of approved materials for a contest?
A: List of approved material for every contest can found in their respective guidelines.

Q12: One of my team members doesn’t have parental consent to be on camera. Can they still participate?
A: Yes, as it is not mandatory that all students appear in the video submission. It is the responsibility of the teacher/coach to either notify Skills Ontario (junkraces@skillsontario.com) that the submission should not be used for any promotional/program materials, or to ensure the student(s) do not in the video submission.

Q13: Does my school need to be affiliated with Skills Ontario in order to participate?
A: For the 2021-22 school year, all public and private elementary and secondary schools in the province are automatically considered affiliated. 


Submit Your Project

Teams are to collect all parts of their submission within a folder and submit their final submission package within the Skills Ontario Junk Drawer Races webpage. Teachers may assist with the Safety Checklist, if required.

Project submissions must be submitted in a specific naming format in order to receive marks. If a team does not name their submission package in the following naming convention, their submission may be disqualified from competition.

STUDENTS: Be sure to have all 5 components of your project saved within a compressed .ZIP file folder. The .ZIP file MUST be titled using your school’s name and school board initials if there was only one team. If the school had more than one team during the regional round, the title should include the team number (team 1 or team 2 or team 3). Please use the same team number from the regional round.

Teams may ask their teacher(s) for assistance in creating a zip file folder. Further, a video can be referred to on youtube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ipn-T5Um3d4) to learn how to create a zip file folder.

For example, if your school is St. Mary’s Elementary School in Waterloo Catholic District School Board, your file must be titled: “stmarys.wcdsb.ZIP” if there was only one team from the school. In case the school had two or three teams, the .zip file should be titled as “stmarys.wcdsb.team1.zip”, “stmarys.wcdsb.team2.zip”  and “stmarys.wcdsb.team3.zip”.

NOTE: Your full submission package should include a total of 5 documents that are a part of the 3 sections noted in the guidelines of every contest.


Submit your project through the form below:



The results for the competition will appear below shortly after the winners announcement has been made. Please check back then.


Regional Round

Gravity Powered Robot Walker Race

Cardboard Car Race

Paper Glider Competition

Hydraulic Crane Challenge

Cardboard Hovercraft Race




For those that have already registered and uploaded their submissions for the Junk Drawer Races, thank you! We appreciate the positive feedback, your efforts and support towards the new series of contests! We hope that your students had fun learning about exciting careers in skilled trades and technologies and enjoyed the activities.

During the contest, many of you had questions and we tried to answer all of them as quickly as possible. In the last two days it has been brought to our notice that a lot of you would like a few more days to upload your submissions and some of your students didn’t want to upload because their prototypes failed to complete the required test. If the team or prototype is having difficulties, or issues in submitting – please do not hesitate to reach out and we will assist you to make sure that the team can participate in regionals!

In response to these concerns, firstly, we would like to extend the deadline for submissions to Dec 9th by 2pm (EST). Please follow the submission instructions below.

1.    Teams that have already submitted are also welcome to continue working on their projects further and submit a new file by the new deadline of December 9th at 2pm. For any re-submissions, please use the exact same file name as you did previously, and simply just add “_V2” to the end (version 2).

2.    After hearing the extensive feedback of participation of whole classes participating in the Junk Drawer Wars, Skills Ontario has reviewed again and is able to accommodate even more entries for judging than the previously noted 3 teams per contest per school. Please go ahead and submit an entry for all teams in your class if you wish!

Please have the new team numbers in the title of the submission file.

Once again, if the team or prototype is having difficulties or issues in submitting, please do not hesitate to reach out and we will assist you to make sure that the team can participate in regionals!