2018 K’NEX STEM Design Challenge – TIU 11 Region

Middle school students building K'NEX structures

March 22nd – Grades 4 & 5; March 23rd – Grades 6-8

On March 22nd and 23rd, TIU 11 will host its 4th annual K’NEX STEM Design Challenge at the TIU 11 Main Office in McVeytown.  The top team in each division will be invited to attend the state competition in Harrisburg on May 18th.

2018 Challenge:

Thermo Fisher Scientific has asked your team for help developing a new product for your home. This product can be anything that you can use in your home and it must be environmentally friendly. Thermo Fisher Scientific is working to make the world healthier, cleaner and safer. This product could be (but not limited to) a new way to power your home, a new type of appliance, or a new gadget for home entertainment. 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.


  • 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 kit s 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


A full description of the challenge can be accessed at this link. The middle school competition rubric is available at this link.  The elementary competition rubric is available at this link.


Once again, a limited number of free kits 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 the last two years.  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.