• March 11, 2024

    Fort Couch STEM team qualifies for states

    STEM Design ChallengeA team of Fort Couch Middle School students placed first in the 6-8 Division of the regional STEM Design Challenge on Wednesday, March 6, 2024, at the Commonwealth Charter Academy in Homestead. The eighth-grade team of John Whitman, Joey Wyse, Sam An and Felix Chen now advance to the state-level competition in May in Harrisburg.

    The Boyce sixth grade team of Michael Clarke, Sarah Staub, Brayden Wong, and Rebecca Zahalsky placed second, and the Fort Couch seventh grade team of Claire Dietiker, Theodora Lagonis, Sunny Liu, Lindsey Fitzgerald, and Mira Murthy placed fourth.

    The Upper St. Clair middle school students were coached by gifted/accelerated math teachers Mr. Jason O’Roark, at Fort Couch Middle School, and Mrs. Kimberly Bartolacci, at Boyce Middle School.

    Sponsored by Thermo Fisher Scientific and run by the Allegheny Intermediate Unit, the STEM Design Challenge encourages students to apply STEM skills using K’Nex products to design and build a structure that accomplishes the given goal. Teams must create a blueprint and journal that outlines their structure and the engineering design process they went through to create it. At the competition, teams build their structure from their blueprints in a two-hour time period. Once completed, they present their design solution to a team of judges.

    The 2024 Challenge: “Pennsylvania agriculture contributes $132.5 billion to our state economy annually and supports more than 593,600 jobs, paying wages of $32.8 billion. Did you know that farmers use robots to help them? ‘High-tech farming’ is important, especially as our population grows and food demand increases. Your team is being challenged to help our Pennsylvania farmers by creating an agricultural robot or other type of ‘high-tech farming’ equipment that they could use.”