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​Regional Qualifying Competitions

Regional competitions will be held at each of the commonwealth’s Intermediate Units (IU) during the month of February at a date and time identified by each IU. The one-day regional competition will be comprised of two phases, and each phase will be evaluated by a panel of judges determined by each IU.
 
PHASE 1: Prototype and Project Plan – Teams will research and identify a real-world challenge facing Pennsylvanians. Using a stipend of up to $500, teams will create a single prototype of their device that effectively addresses the challenge they have identified. In order to ensure equity, teams will not be permitted to use more than $500 worth of materials for their prototype (this includes donated materials/components). For example, a project cannot include a $700 component that was donated by a community sponsor. Any team that exceeds the allotted budget will be subject to a significant point reduction.

Students will demonstrate their creation to a panel of IU judges and must clearly articulate their understanding of STEM principles, Pennsylvania’s STEM needs, and the need to produce practical solutions to real world problems.

To support their creation, each team will submit a project plan to the judges. The project plan should include the following information, which will be evaluated by the judges:  
  • Describe a real-world problem within the community
  • Identify community needs and possible improvements
  • Use of engineering processes and principles
  • Budget documentation
  • A plan for and identification of the costs of improvement
  • Written communication, including conventions
Teams will also be asked to provide a sense of scale for their prototype and must include calculations that demonstrate how their prototype/project would need to be up-scaled if it were to be produced.
 
As a final component of the project plan, students must outline how they would spend an additional $750 to improve their device/creation if they made it to the state competition finals, justify how their proposed upgrades would improve the project and benefit intended users, provide a brief explanation of any improvements they would make above and beyond a $750 limit, and what kind of STEM professions would be needed to make their prototype a reality.

The panel of IU judges will use a rubric provided by the Statewide STEM Planning Committee to provide a score to each participating team.  
 
Build Requirements:
  • Teams cannot spend more than their project stipend and must provide proof of purchase for all components used in their creation.    
  • Mechanisms should be primarily autonomous. Remote control is permitted to initiate a command, but not control the function of a task. 
At the competition, students will have 20 minutes to present their device to the panel of judges, and will be scored on the following components:
  • Knowledge of the team’s device and its application
  • Understanding of STEM skills and processes
  • Appearance and creativity of the device
  • Design of the device
  • Scalability of the device
  • Local business/industry connections
  • Delivery methods and oral communication
PHASE 2: Project in a Box – At the regional competition, teams will be given a box of materials and 30 minutes to complete a set of tasks. The project in the box activity will be separate from the prototype. This exercise will be an opportunity to demonstrate to the judges the cohesive nature of the team and earn points for teamwork, ingenuity, positive attitudes, problem solving, critical thinking, and creativity. Project materials are not to exceed $250 per IU.
 
Teams will be judged on the following components:
  • Collaborative communication
  • Teamwork
  • STEM skills demonstrated
  • Task completion
Build Requirements
 
Teams cannot spend more than their project stipend and must provide proof of purchase for all components used in their creation. Mechanisms should be primarily autonomous; remote control is permitted to initiate a command, but not control to the function of a task. 
 
Judging
 
For both phases of the Regional Competition, the IU panel of judges will use a rubric provided by the Statewide STEM Planning Committee to provide a score to each participating team. The average score from each of the judges will be awarded to the team. All rubrics are available to teams to guide the development of their written proposal, device, and presentation. These rubrics and other materials are available on this website.
 
All regional competitions must be concluded by March 16, 2018 and the identity of winning teams must be submitted to the Pennsylvania Department of Education by March 23, 2018.