2021 Virtual Circuit Troubleshooting & Construction

Please direct any questions about this event to the event judge, Dr. Joss Ives (joss@phas.ubc.ca).

This year’s live lab event is a virtual circuit troubleshooting and circuit construction challenge using the Tinkercad online platform. This event will run on the day of Physics Olympics, from 10:30-11:30am, with the link to the activity being made available here in advance of the activity.

Overview of the event

This event has two stages, each scored individually. The overall event score will be the average of the two stages. Each stage is composed of multiple, sequential challenges; you will be allowed to skip any challenge, BUT you will NOT be allowed to return to any of your skipped or previously completed challenges. For each stage, your score will be determined as a fraction of the maximum score earned by any team in that stage. Ties will be broken in favour of teams that have skipped the fewest challenges overall. You must submit screenshots of your circuits, with the appropriate output active, to demonstrate that your circuit is behaving as intended.

  • Stage 1: Troubleshooting speed run (30 minutes) – Each challenge in this stage will involve your team diagnosing an error in a breadboarded circuit provided through Tinkercad, fixing the error, and providing a screenshot demonstrating the circuit performing as intended. Each successfully completed challenge will be worth 1 point.
  • Stage 2: Circuit construction (30 minutes) – Each challenge in this stage will involve your team implementing a circuit diagram on the Tinkercad breadboard or designing a circuit with a specified output, such as having your circuit generate a target Voltage vs Time graph for the voltage being measured across a component. Challenges in this stage use screenshot submission to demonstrate the desired output behaviour. Some of these challenges will be marked using a 0 or 1 point scheme and others may award partial marks based on how close they are to the target output. This will be clearly indicated on the specific challenge.


To prepare for this event, your team will want to review DC circuit concepts, focusing on voltage dividers and the behaviour of resistor-capacitor circuits. You will also want to make sure that at least one of your team-members has a Tinkercad account (see below), and that you have used the practice activities (see below) to orient yourself to the format of the challenges.

Creating a Tinkercad account

At least one person on your team will need a Tinkercad account so that you are able to interact with and create virtual circuits to complete this event’s challenges. To create an account, visit https://www.tinkercad.com/join (Links to an external site.)

Once you have an account, you will be able to use web links provided with the practice activities and event challenges to interact with the circuits.

Practice activities

We will post, by February 23, a link to a series of practice activities to help orient you to the Tinkercad platform and the format of the challenges. The format of the practice activities will emulate closely how the challenges will be administered during the live event.