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STEM Design Challenge

Division:A – ElementaryNC Essential Standards Alignment:4.P.2, 5.P.1, Science as InquiryEvent Rules:STEM Design Challenge RulesEvent Score Sheet:ScoresheetClarifications:See the FAQ sheet below for some tips on this event.

The axle to wind the string must be a single rod, it cannot be several connected in some way to make a thicker winding point.  (see pictures) 10/13/17

The volume of the box should not exceed 33,000 cm3.  The 525 cm3 in the rules is incorrect.  1/22/18


This is a building event. Teams must work to design and build a structure that will solve a task as outlined in the rules.


Teams MUST bring writing instruments and their challenge box full of materials.

Event Leaders will provide the official scoresheet and challenge instructions.


Teams will be ranked into tiers based on adherence to the challenge instructions. Within each tier, teams must be ranked based on the scoring criteria for the build-off selected.

Common Mistakes:



Make sure the lid fits flush on the top of the box, and likewise do not bring any prohibited materials or tools, even if teams do not plan on using them.

Teams can only bring one picture of their device this year.  This cannot be a collage of photos.

Any K’nex pieces can be used from any kit to construct the challenges. If your team has an obscure piece or you think it might be questioned, feel free to include a picture of the part in the box showing that it is a K’nex piece.

Fast Facts:


Event Resources:

2018 STEM Design Challenge Test

FAQs for the 2018 Device.  Last updated 10/13/17

PBS Kids Design Squad – Practice design challenges
Classroom Compass article on teaching design principles in the classroom
Engineering for Kids – links for learning engineering techniques


NoneThis axle added an extra piece to wind the string up faster, this is not allowed.This string is winding on itself, which is correct.  This is the type of string we will be using for all competitions, a lightweight nylon string that will be slightly longer than 1m to allow room to attach it to the axle.Here is how the event will run!