Informal Education Resources

OPTIMUS PRIME Spinoff Promotion and Research Challenge (OPSPARC) 2016-2017

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NASA’s Optimus Prime Spinoff Promotion and Research Challenge, or OPSPARC, is a competition for students in elementary (3-5), middle (6-8), and high (9-12) school, and gives them the opportunity to engage with the Engineering Design Process (EDP). The 9 - 12 grade OPSPARC Challenge focuses on the technology and Spinoffs related to the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). Just like NASA engineers, you will use an Engineering Design Process to design your own Spinoff innovation from JWST technology.

For OPSPARC, students learn more about NASA technology and use their ingenuity to create spinoffs that make their world a better place - like the TRANSFORMERS! Spinoffs are like OPTIMUS PRIME - they come from space to solve problems on Earth. Students will discover NASA Spinoff Technologies used in everyday life, use the Engineering Design Process to create their own innovations, and share their discoveries and creative thinking through a Glogster Digital Design poster.

Glogster is a cloud-based platform for presentation and interactive learning. The tool will allow contestants to combine different kinds of media on a virtual canvas to create multimedia posters and to access an existing library of educational content created by students and educators worldwide. Contestants will create Glogs of their own as part of OPSPARC that will include information on spinoffs and NASA missions, and video describing their own ideas for a new NASA spinoff technology.

For each challenge:

  • Ten Glogster Digital Design posters will be selected for nationwide voting to determine the public's favorite poster!

For the high school challenge:

  • Twenty teams of students in grades 9 through 12, after completing their Glogs, will be invited to work with college student mentors to further develop their spinoff concept within a 3-D, multi-user, virtual world setting through creation of computer-aided design (CAD) models and application of engineering and business analyses on their spinoff concepts. This year's InWorld portion of the contest is sponsored by NASA's James Webb Space Telescope project.

Students who submit the winning entries in each age category will visit NASA Goddard for an awards ceremony and workshop to be held in their honor. The workshop will include a behind-the-scenes look at Goddard, the chance to meet some of the top minds at NASA, and will receive a special prize from Hasbro. One of the high school winners of the 2014-2015 contest, Kelly DeRees, described the workshop as, “...a wonderful experience that I'll never forget.”

To get your classroom started, and for full competition details for the 2017 NASA OPSPARC Challenge, please visit our new website:

2015 High School winning Glog:
High School

Full high school, In-World winning team video presentation about a JWST tech spinoff for cooling homes: