455 Boot Road, Downingtown PA 19355
484.237.5017 DianeT@cciu.org

The Challenge

The 2017/18 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.

Parts cost list

K’Nex Kits

More information coming soon.

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.)
  • First place winners in each division will advance to the state competition


STEM Design Challenge 2018

4 – 5 level Scoring Rubric

6 – 8 level Scoring Rubric

Note: The 6 – 8 level scoring rubric now includes an Inventory /Budget category.

History of Challenge

“The idea began with a conversation over coffee between a pair of friends and former colleagues, and in less than five years, it turned into a statewide phenomenon. “What if we could design a program that provides materials and training for educators and helps generate student interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)?” they asked. That was at the heart of the conversation early in 2010 between Amy Cribbs and Jill Jones, who share a passion for science education dating back to their tenures working at Carnegie Science Center.”
Read more from the article “A Homegrown STEM Challenge Goes Statewide in Pennsylvania,” ThermoFisher Scientific, Thermofisher.com, which describes the origins of this fantastic student event.

Sponsored & Coordinated by:

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