Student Competitions » 2021 STEM Design Challenge (Grades 4 to 8)

2021 STEM Design Challenge (Grades 4 to 8)

Project Submission Deadline:  March 12, 2021
Judge's Timeline:  March 24-26, 2021  
Date for Award Ceremony:  Week of April 6, 2021
2021 Challenge
Over the past 6 months, we have all spent a lot of time in our home. You may have discovered that some products or appliances in your home could be safer or more environmentally friendly. Thermo Fisher Scientific is working to make the world healthier, cleaner and safer so they are asking you to rethink a product that you would find in your home, or create one that you should find in your home. This product could be (but not limited to) a new or different way to power your home, a new or updated appliance, or a new gadget for home entertainment. Be creative! Click here to download the 2021 Rubric.
Who Can Participate?
  • Students in grades 4 - 8.  There are two grade categories: Grades 4 - 5 and Grades 6 - 8
  • The competition is limited to 65 teams total. 
  • Limited to 6 teams (total) per school district/diocese, 2-4 students per team.
  • If your district / diocese has more than 6 teams that wish to participate, you may still register the names of the additional teams.  These teams will be placed on a waitlist. After registration closes, teams on the waitlist will be addressed in the order they were received. 
  • Register here.
  • Team Registration must be done by your specified District Contact.  Click here to verify your District Contact.
  • Will open January 11, 2021 at 8:30 a.m. and will close on January 25, 2021 at 12 p.m. 
  • If you don't have your student names in time to submit during the registration process, please e-mail the student names to Christiana Davey - by March 1, 2021.
  • A team of 2-4 students will work together on the project.
  • This year we are asking students to create their project using recyclable materials and/or K’Nex.
  • Each team will need to create and submit a design notebook (PDF format) and a blueprint (PDF format) prior to their regional competition.
  • Each team will need to prepare and submit a video presentation (max 2 minutes in MP4 format) on their model and how they answered the challenge.
Frequently Asked Questions 
  1. Is there an opportunity to receive a free K'Nex kit?  No, not this year.
  2. Can we use water? No water or other live objects may be used.
  3. As for the narrative (now called Design Notebook) in the rubric, is this to be a typed document and is there a specific required format for the narrative? Yes, it needs to be a typed document, saved and submitted in PDF format.
  4. Can we use more than one motor?  More than one motor can be used.  You can use wire to connect ,n several motors but only as long as it does not interfere in the project in any other way. 
  5. Can we use light bulbs, fans, copper tape and switches.  Lightbulbs, fans, copper tape or switches cannot be used unless they come with a K'nex Kit.  
Other Questions?
Please email Christiana Davey:  We would like to have all questions in writing so that we can appropriately update the "Frequently Asked Questions" for all participants.