March 13, 2019 (Snow Date: March 15, 2019)

The Field House at Pennsylvania College of Technology, Williamsport, PA

Middle School Students in Grades 4-5 and Grades 6-8

2019 Team Registration is available here.



 2019 Challenge 

Teams across Pennsylvania are being tasked with creating a machine that will move 3 objects at least 6 inches across a table. The “crane” must pick up the object, move it at least 6 inches and set it back down. Your team can choose the objects that need to be moved. Please consider how environmentally friendly your machine is while presenting about your project. Be creative! 

Additional Middle School Challenge 

Teams competing in the grades 6-8 division will also be asked to present a budget of their project. They will need to inventory each K’Nex piece they use and list a price for each piece. They will need to present their inventory and an overall cost of their project. Click here to download an inventory list.


  • A team of 4 students (maximum) will work together on the project. 
  • Each project must use at least 1 motor.
  • Teams may use up to 1400 pieces. Any pieces, as long as they are K’Nex, may be used.
  • Schools must bring their K’Nex kits on the day of the competition.
  • Students will have 2 hours to put together their project at the competition.
  • No pieces may be brought to the competition already joined.
  • Each team will need to bring a journal and a blueprint to the competition.
  • Each team will need to prepare a presentation (max 2 minutes) on their model and how they answered the challenge. Middle school students will also need to present their inventory.
  • Teams must create a new machine. Using kits that are currently sold will not be rewarded.
  • Projects must fit on a 6 foot long table.

Judging Criteria: 

  • Creativity 
  • Teamwork
  • Challenge Success
  • Design
  • Presentation


  • Awards will be given to top three teams in grades 4-5 and grades 6-8 
  • Additional prizes may be awarded (best blueprint, most creative, etc.)
  • Top team in each division at each regional competition will advance to the state competition being held on Friday, May 17 at Harrisburg University in Harrisburg, PA

Parts of the competition: 


  • This should be a diary of the team’s journey from start to finish. 


  • Can be a photo, drawing, cad drawing, etc. Be creative! 
  • Students may present this on a tablet/ laptop but judges will not award additional points for technology.


  • Teams may include a backdrop or artwork but judges will not consider this in their scoring. 
  • Must use at least 1 motor.
  • Cannot exceed 1400 pieces.


  • Each presentation will be 2 minutes or less 
  • Students may use a tablet/ laptop but will not be awarded any additional points 
  • Middle school students must also present their inventory and cost

Registration Information for the BLaST IU17 Regional Challenge

  • Each school district may register up to two teams for the 4th -5th grade level and/or two teams for the 6th-8th grade level. (Districts are invited to conduct their own local challenge to determine which teams will move on to the regional challenge.)
  • Each teacher/advisor is permitted to register one additional chaperone per team.
  • Registration must be completed separately for each team entered in the Challenge.
  • 2019 Team Registration is available here.


K’Nex Kits

  • The 2019 kit is the same kit that was used in previous years. If your district participated last year, please plan on using the same kit.
  • Any combination of pieces may be used, as long as they are genuine K’Nex, at least one motor is included, and the number of pieces does not exceed 1,400.
  • All teams must arrive with their own K’Nex kit/pieces—we will not have extras available on the day of the competition.


Event Components


  • Teams may include a backdrop or artwork but judges will not consider this in their scoring.
  • Must use at least one motor.
  • Cannot exceed 1,400 pieces. 


  • Describe the process the team used to come up with a solution.
  • What roles did each member have while coming up with the solution?
  • What types of issues arose while working on the project?
  • Did creating a blueprint help with the creation of your model?
  • Did you use any other resources or models to help your team come up with a solution?


  • Blueprints may be a photo, drawing, CAD, etc. Students may present on a tablet/laptop but judges do not award additional points for use of technology.


  • Each presentation will be two minutes or less.
  • Students may use a tablet/laptop but will not be awarded any additional points.
  • Middle School students must also present their project budget.


Additional Details

Tentative Schedule for the Day

  • 9:00am – 9:30am Registration
  • 9:30am – 9:45am Welcome/Competition Overview
  • 9:45am – 11:45am Student Competition
  • 11:45am – 12:30pm Judging/Project Peer Review
  • 12:30pm – 12:45pm Awards Ceremony
  • 12:45pm – 1:00pm Clean up and Dismiss

There is no set lunch time built into the schedule. Students, teachers, and chaperones are invited to pack a lunch and eat when time permits.


Room Setup

Each team will have the use of one assigned 6-foot rectangular table; separate seating areas within the room will be available for any downtime.



Although we’d love to invite all parents/families to attend, space limitations prevent it.


Media Clearances

We’d like to take pictures of the event and promote this with local media. Each student must complete a signed Photographic Release Form.


Scoring Rubrics

Teams may use these rubrics of the judging criteria while preparing their projects.

Middle School Rubric

Elementary Rubric



Lots are depicted on the PCT Campus Map. Buses and vans will park in E8 and R2 lots. All other vehicles are welcome to park in the C4 and C6 lots.


Contact Rob McKenzie with any questions.