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STEM Design Challenge

STEM Design Challenge logo


Students in grades 4-8 are challenged to build an object with a certain theme with K'NEX building materials. At the challenge, they will present a narrative report, submit blueprints/cost sheets, and build their object within a certain time limit.

Teams compete for first, second, and third place awards, as well as six additional category awards. The top team from each category (Grades 4-5 and 6-8) will be invited to participate in the state competition in May 2020.


The 2020 Challenge

Information about the 2020 challenge will be available soon.


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.


Student Teams

Grade-band categories: Grades 4-5 and Grades 6-8

A team may have no more than 4 students.

Cost: $10 per team

2020 competition registration information will be available soon.


Dates and Location

Date: TBD

Location: Delaware County Intermediate Unit

 200 Yale Avenue, Morton, PA 19070


Judging Criteria

  • Creativity
  • Teamwork
  • Challenge Success
  • Design
  • Presentation


Competition Logistics

Teams will have 2 hours to assemble their project at the competition. Teams may not bring pre-assembled components.

Along with their K'Nex components, each team should bring a journal and a blueprint to the competition. Teams in the Grades 6-8 competition should also bring and present an inventory list.


For more information

Please contact Rose Bilinski at


Frequently Asked Questions


Can we get a K'Nex kit from DCIU?

DCIU has a limited quantity of K'Nex kits to distribute to teams. Priority will be given to schools that are participating this year for the first time.

Will there be a teacher training session at DCIU?

A webinar will be scheduled to provide information and allow teachers to ask questions. Details about this will be shared as soon as possible.


Are parents allowed to come?

Due to the very tight schedule and limited physical space, we ask that parents do not attend the competition. As much as we would love to welcome everyone to observe, our capacity at the event location simply cannot accommodate additional guests.


Can we bring technology devices to show blueprints?

Teams may bring technology devices to display blueprints, but are responsible for ensuring that their devices are charged and working properly. Technical support will not be available.


Can the projects be judged before the 2 hour limit?

Teams may have their project judged when they are finished and do not need to wait until the end of the 2 hour limit. However, projects will only be judged once.


What if our project gets judged before the 2 hour limit?

Students are asked to remain in the competition area but not interfere with other teams that are still working.


What type of signage / backdrops / other artwork is permitted?

Backdrops and display boards are permitted; however, teams are responsible for the configuration of their display and are not permitted to adhere things to walls. Teams will have a 3ft. x 6ft. table for their project and any other sort of signage.


Is there a specific format for the narrative?

There is no required format. You may use this form if you would like.


Is the price of the structure for the grades 6-8 category judged?