• April 20, 2021

    Fort Couch STEM Design team

    Fort Couch team wins STEM challenge, advances to states

    BlueprintA team of Fort Couch Middle School students placed first in the 6-8 grade division at the regional STEM Design Challenge on March 26, 2021. Eighth graders Carlee Santel, Tyler McClintock-Comeaux, Eitan Schwartz and Yuhong Shi now qualify to compete in the state-level competition.

    Sponsored by Thermo Fisher Scientific, the STEM Design Challenge tasks teams of students in grades 4-8 with designing and building a prototype using recyclable materials or K’Nex pieces. Each team must also create and submit a design notebook and a blueprint.

    “The STEM Design Challenge encourages students to collaborate as they apply the engineering design process to accomplish a given goal,” Jason O’Roark, gifted education teacher, said. “This year the students enabled homes to only heat rooms that contained people, thus saving energy and helping the environment.”

    Teams present their design solution to a panel of judges and are scored on creativity, teamwork, challenge success, design and presentation. The first-place teams in the local competition qualify to advance to the state championship.

    Another team of Fort Couch Middle School students finished second in the regional competition. The team includes seventh graders Lylah Kateeb, Chloe Bird, Ellie Simons, Kaia Petrick and Isabella Donnelly.

    The 2020-2021 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!

    The STEM Design Challenge began in 2010 as a competition at the Allegheny Intermediate Unit in Homestead, Pa. with 37 teams. Since then, it has grown to a Pennsylvania statewide competition with more than 5,000 students competing each year. Student teams compete within two grade level divisions, grades 4-5 and grades 6-8.