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The BLaST IU17 K’NEX STEM Design Challenge raises awareness of the importance of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education. Students in Grades 4-8 participate in an exciting competition where they are tasked with designing, developing, and implementing a solution to an engineering problem. Students are scored on creativity, teamwork, and the challenge’s success.

Regional Registration: BLaST IU 17 STEM Design Registration

Regional Competition: April 9, 2024
Lycoming College, Williamsport, PA

State Competition: May 3, 2024
Farm Show Complex
Harrisburg, PA


2024 Challenge 

Pennsylvania agriculture contributes $132.5 billion to our state economy annually and supports more
than 593,600 jobs, paying wages of $32.8 billion. Did you know that farmers use robots to help them?
“High-tech Farming” is important especially as our population grows and food demand increases. Your
team is being challenged to help our Pennsylvania farmers by creating an agricultural robot or other type
of “high-tech farming” equipment that they could use.

• A team of 2-4 students will work together on the project.
• Students must create their prototype using K’Nex including at least 1 motor.
• Each team will need to create and submit a design notebook and a blueprint.
• Each team will need to prepare a presentation (max 2 minutes) on their model and how they
answered the challenge.

Judging Criteria: 
• Creativity
• Teamwork
• Challenge Success
• Design
• Presentation

• Awards will be given to top three teams in grades 4-5 and grades 6-8
• The 1st place team in each division (grades 4-5 and grades 6-8) at each Intermediate Unit regional
competition will advance to the state competition.

Parts of the competition:

Design Notebook 
• This should be a journal of the team’s progress from start to finish.
• The Notebook should include elements of the Engineering Design Process.
• Resources for Design Notebooks

• A blueprint is a technical drawing or design plan for a project. It is used to represent the final product.
• Blueprints for the STEM Design Challenge can be a photo, drawing, cad drawing, online sketch, etc. Be creative!
• Resources for blueprint ideas

• Teams will answer the challenge by creating a prototype of their idea. K’Nex pieces must be
used including at least 1 motor.
• Teams may include a backdrop or artwork, but judges will not consider this in their scoring.

• Teams are asked to share their ideas in a presentation for the judges.
• Each presentation will be 2 minutes or less.
• Every student on the team should be a part of the presentation.
• Judges may ask questions of the team after the presentation.

Scoring Rubrics
Teams may use the rubrics below while preparing their projects:

STEM Design Challenge Elementary Rubric

STEM Design Challenge Middle School Rubric

Padlet Resource for Advisors

Contact Amanda Fair with any questions.