Neidig students star in Bucks County STEM Challenge

A group of Neidig Elementary School fifth-graders fin­ished sec­ond among 47 teams at the 2021 STEM Design Challenge at the Bucks County Intermediate Unit. Neidig entered three teams into the com­pe­ti­tion and two reached the semifinals.

We are so proud of our Neidig lead­ers’ work with the STEM projects,” Principal Scott Godshalk said. “Our stu­dents learn so many skills relat­ed to col­lab­o­ra­tion, com­mu­ni­ca­tion, crit­i­cal think­ing, and cre­ativ­i­ty. This STEM com­pe­ti­tion allowed stu­dents to inte­grate those skills to demon­strate advanced achieve­ment. Mrs. DiCicco pro­vid­ed exem­plary lead­er­ship with her students!”

The Challenge asked stu­dents to rethink a prod­uct in their home or cre­ate one that should be in a home. The prod­uct could be a new or dif­fer­ent way to pow­er a home, a new or updat­ed appli­ance, or a new gad­get for home enter­tain­ment. The project was cre­at­ed using recy­clable mate­ri­als or K’Nex. Each team was required to sub­mit a design note­book and a blue­print. Presentations last­ed up to two minutes. 

Neidig teacher Stacey DiCicco, who coached each team, said her stu­dents worked hard and accom­plished a great deal. “I gave them the tools they need­ed but they did all the work,” she said. “They were in charge. I’m thrilled for them.”

Here are her descrip­tions of each group:

  • Team 10:  Anna Bruno, Max Crouse, Lucy Read, Jace Walsh — this team made it to the semi­fi­nals and won 2nd place in all of Bucks County for Elementary out of 47 teams. This team’s project is a wash­ing machine and dry­er all in one. You choose the set­tings ahead of time and the wash auto­mat­i­cal­ly goes from the wash­er to the dry­er.  The water used then gets recycled.
  • Team 11:  Karly Formica, Ben Maugle, Katelyn Oshinski  This group made a large club­house for kids/adults. It looks like a shed that can get pulled around to dif­fer­ent yards, camp­sites, etc.  It is for entertainment.
  • Team 12:  Martha Barbour, Brielle Brinckerhoff, Connor Hunsicker, Alex Orrison — this team made it to the semi­fi­nals out of 47 teams. This group cre­at­ed a cam­era on the inside of an oven so peo­ple can see their food cook­ing with­out open­ing up the oven and let­ting heat out. There is also an app where peo­ple can see their food cook­ing when they are in dif­fer­ent parts of their house or if they are not home at all.

COVID has can­celed so much, and so many things have been tak­en away from the kids. And while this event cer­tain­ly wasn’t the same as it has been, it’s part of the process about how we over­come chal­lenges,” Mrs. DiCicco said. “This was a pos­i­tive chal­lenge, and I’m so proud of how our kids stepped up. I’m so proud of our three groups of stu­dents. Each one was amazing!”

Zach Garger, a K‑12 Instructional Coach and the Quakertown Community School District’s Math and Science Content Specialist, said the event is a “unique expe­ri­ence” for ele­men­tary school students.

My key take­away is that despite all of the chal­lenges, hav­ing to do every­thing in a vir­tu­al or a hybrid set­ting, they made it work,” he said. “Students put the focus on find­ing solu­tions to real-world prob­lems by using their cre­ativ­i­ty. These are 10- and 11-year-olds com­ing up with inno­v­a­tive ways to make a difference.”