Welcome to our FAQs page. If you have questions that aren't answered below, please reach out to Kristine Poptanich, Maryland Mensa's Gifted Youth Coordinator, at Kristine dot Poptanich at gmail dot com.


  1. Does my child need to be a member of Mensa in order to participate?
  2. No!  Membership in Mensa is not a requirement to participate.  We welcome all gifted youth interested in hands on opportunities to learn, explore, and create.

  3. Are the Challenge Boxes free?
  4. We plan to fundraise and seek material donations to help offset the costs associated with developing and shipping the boxes.  If the box requests exceed the number of boxes available, groups will have the option to offset the cost of developing and shipping a box for their use.

    In addition, we are working on making boxes available in a virtual format, when possible.  For example, Challenge Box #2 has been designed so that everything needed can be printed from the Challenge Box website.

  5. How many kids can we have to a team?
  6. The size of the team is entirely up to you.  The challenges can be completed by individual students or groups of students working together.

  7. What ages are most appropriate for the activities?
  8. The challenges are designed to be used by school-aged gifted youth under the constant supervision of one or more adults capable of ensuring a safe and collaborative environment.

  9. Do we need to have an adult present?
  10. Yes!  All teams must be supervised for the duration of the activity by one or more adults capable of ensuring a safe and collaborative environment.

  11. Do the challenges require any special supplies not included in the box?
  12. Challenge Box #1 requires a tape measure or other measuring device.

    Challenge Box #2 requires a printer to print out the map file and some sort of writing device(s), preferably pencils or other writing implements that can be erased, if necessary.

    Challenge Box #3 requires scissors (2-3 pairs, depending upon the number of youth participating.

  13. What should we name our team?
  14. Team names cannot include personal names and we reserve the right to require a team to change its name, if any concern exists that it could offend other participants.

  15. What do we do when we receive the box?
  16. Open it!  You can freely examine the contents, but do not open the instruction envelope until you are ready to start the challenge, because that starts the clock!

  17. How much time will the challenge take?
  18. All of the challenges must be completed in 45 - 60 minutes or less.  This provides an even playing field for gifted youth participating as part of school groups that may need to complete the challenge within the course of a class period.

  19. Do we need to finish the challenge by a certain date?
  20. No, but you cannot receive another Challenge Box until you complete and record your results from the first challenge.

  21. What if our team doesn't finish the challenge?
  22. The challenges are open-ended problems that promote creativity and lateral thinking.  As such, there are no set goals to achieve and everyone will complete the challenge, just with different results.  The results are compared using quantitative measures that will be fully explained in the individual challenge rules.

  23. How do we record our results?
  24. The instruction envelope included in the Challenge Box will provide this website address and instructions for how to submit your team results.  Please be sure to take a picture of your creation, but please make sure that no youth or adults are in the picture.

  25. How do the team rankings work?
  26. All of the challenges are designed to allow for quantitative comparison of the team results.  Teams will be ranked according to those quantitative metrics for the individual activity.  Teams that compete in multiple challenge boxes will also be included in the overall team rankings, which will be computed as the total of the team's scores on the individual challenges divided by the number of challenges the team participated in.  The lower your team's overall score, the higher your ranking!

  27. What do we do with our creation?
  28. Once you complete the challenge and record your results, please feel free to keep your resulting creation for as long as you want, and then recycle the parts when you are finished with it.

  29. How do we sign up to get the next Challenge Box?
  30. An e-mail will be sent out to all participants asking if they wish to participate in the next Challenge Box activity approximately one to two months before the boxes are due to be released.  Please note that we will not send new Challenge Boxes to any group that has not completed and recorded their results from the first challenge.

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