The Bucks County Intermediate Unit (Bucks IU), in-line with our ongoing STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) education efforts, was proud to again coordinate and host the Bucks County regional STEM Design Challenge. Two sell-out crowds, of sixty-five teams each, competed on two separate days with elementary students (grades 4–5) on March 8th and middle school students (grade 6–8) on March 15th. The top team in each division advances to the state competition being held on Friday, May 17th at Harrisburg University in Harrisburg, PA.
This year’s design challenge was to create a machine that would move 3 objects at least 6 inches across a table. Their “crane” must pick up the object, move it at least 6 inches and then set it back down. The teams had to provide a journal documenting their concepts and plans, as well as a final design blueprint of their proposed solution. Upon arrival at the competition, they needed to then successfully assemble their creation for judging.
The students use K’Nex to build their projects; a building system consists of interlocking plastic rods, connectors, blocks, gears, wheels, and other components, which can be pieced together to form a wide variety of machines and architectural structures. The middle school teams were given the additional task of presenting a budget for their project in which they had to inventory each K’Nex piece they used, with correlating costs and summary, as an overall cost for their project.
The results were absolutely amazing. This was evident from not only the level of creativity behind the actual design concepts but also clearly displayed in the detail and professionalism shown in each team’s required documentation. The teamwork, support, and effort these teams all put forth was truly exemplary.
This Year’s Bucks County Regional Winners are:
Elementary STEM Design Challenge Winners:
- Best Teamwork: Tawanka Elementary School, Neshaminy School District
- Most Creative Design: Plumstead Christian School
- Most Environmentally Friendly: Holland Elementary School, Council Rock School District Overall 3rd Place: Wrightstown Elementary School, Council Rock School District
- Overall 2nd Place: Plumstead Christian School
- Overall 1st Place: Makefield Elementary School, Pennsbury School District (see photo to right)
Middle School STEM Design Challenge Winners:
- Best Teamwork: Churchville Elementary School, Council Rock School District Most Creative Design: Our Lady of Mt. Carmel School
- Most Environmentally Friendly: Belmont Hills Elementary School, Bensalem Township School District Overall 3rd Place: Pennwood Middle School, Pennsbury School District
- Overall 2nd Place: Lenape Middle School, Central Bucks School District
- Overall 1st Place: William Penn Middle School, Pennsbury School District (see photo to right)
Our congratulations to all the winning teams and our sincere thanks to all the participants for making this another fantastic STEAM event.
For more information on STEAM programs from the Bucks IU, please contact Dr. Lindsey Sides, Supervisor of STEAM Programs at 215–348-2940 Ext. 1460 or email her at LSides@BucksIU.org.