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
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
- Describe a real-world problem
within the community
- Identify community needs and
- Use of engineering processes and
- Budget documentation
- A plan for and identification of
the costs of improvement
- Written communication, including
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
The panel of IU judges will use a rubric provided by the Statewide STEM
Planning Committee to provide a score to each participating team.
- 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
will be judged on the following components:
- STEM skills demonstrated
- Task completion
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.
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.
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.