The Winners of the Bucks County Regional STEM Design Challenges are…

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