2017 K’NEX STEM Design Challenge – TIU 11 Region

Middle school students building K'NEX structures

March 2nd – Grades 4 & 5; March 3rd – Grades 6-8

On March 2nd and 3rd, TIU 11 will host its 3rd K’NEX STEM Design Challenge at the Main Office of TIU 11 in McVeytown.  The top team in each division will be invited to attend the state competition in May.

A limited number of free kits (20) are available for those who are in need of K’NEX kits.  The kits contain a diverse assortment of almost 1400 pieces, one motor, but NO build drawings or lesson plans.  Teachers can apply for these kits using the separate form available below.  We will distribute the kits, one per teacher, while supplies last.  These kits are the same kits as the ones distributed last year.  An official kit is not needed to participate – all K’NEX pieces are permitted.

Additional STEM Design Challenge Kits may be purchased and are available exclusively through Fisher Science Education.  The part number is S14146 and list price is $50.00 each.  Kits can be purchased while supplies last by calling customer service at 1-800-955-1177 or by purchasing through the website using this link.

2017 Challenge

Your team has been hired to create a new amusement park.  However, this new amusement park is making “green” a priority.  The owners are working to make the world healthier, cleaner and safer and are creating a fun family park that will inspire others to be environmentally friendly.  You will need to create a ride for this new park.  Your ride must represent the environmentally friendly approach that the owners are requiring.

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.  The “Cost Per Part List” is available here: SDC MS Challenge Inventory.


  • A team of 4 students 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.

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

Parts of the competition:

  • Journal – This should be a diary of the team’s journey from start to finish. The journal should answer the following questions:
    • Please 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 you use any other resources or models to help your team come up with a solution? If so, please elaborate.
  • Blueprint
    • 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.
  • Project
    • 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.
  • Presentation
    • 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


Download a printable version of the competition rules here:  STEM Design Challenge Problem 2017.