Knex 2024 Challenge

K'Nex pieces


  • The CSIU is one of 20 intermediate units statewide that hosts a K’Nex STEM Design Challenge, funded by Thermo Fisher Scientific.
    Teams of students participate in a two-hour Face2Face competition where they design, develop and implement a solution to an engineering problem. 
    The winning team advances to the state competition being held in May.


    The 2024 K'Nex Challenge is here!
    REGISTER for the 2024 K'Nex Design Challenge

    Pennsylvania's agriculture contributes $132.5 billion to our state economy annually and supports more that 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 demands 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.
    2024 Challenge
    (Link to Official State Site)
    Additional Middle School Challenge:
    Teams competing in the grades 6-8 division will also be asked to present a budget for 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 the overall cost of their project.

    K’Nex Agenda        March 26th              

                                      Grades 4-5  & Grades 6-8        

    8:30  AM –   8:45 AM     Arrival/Registration

    8:45  AM –   9:00 AM     Welcome/Competition Overview

    9:00  AM – 11:00 AM     2 hr. time limit for building

    11:00 AM 11:35 AM      2 min./team oral presentation

    11:35 AM – 12:00 PM     Awards Ceremony & Clean up


    • A team of 4 students (maximum) will work together on the project.

    • Teams may use up to 1400 pieces. Any pieces, as long as they are K’Nex, may be used.  String, tape, and rubber bands are permitted.  Teams must use at least one motor.

    • Schools must bring their K’Nex pieces on the day of the competition.

    • Students will have 2 hours to put together their project at the competition.

    • Each team will need to bring a journal and a blueprint to the competition.

    • Each team will need to prepare a presentation (max 2 minutes) on their model and how they answered the challenge. Middle school students will also need to present their inventory.

    • Projects must fit on a 6-foot-long table.  Water may not be used as part of the display. 

    Judging Criteria: 
    • Creativity
    • Teamwork
    • Challenge Success
    • Design
    • Presentation

    • Awards will be given to top three teams in grades 4-5 and grades 6-8
    • The 1st place team in each division (grades 4-5 and grades 6-8) at each Intermediate Unit regional competition will advance to the state competition.

    Parts of the competition:

    Design Notebook 
    • This should be a journal of the team’s progress from start to finish.
    • The Notebook should include elements of the Engineering Design Process.
    • Resources for Design Notebooks

    • A blueprint is a technical drawing or design plan for a project. It is used to represent the final product.
    • Blueprints for the STEM Design Challenge can be a photo, drawing, cad drawing, online sketch, etc. Be creative!
    • Resources for blueprint ideas

    • Teams will answer the challenge by creating a prototype of their idea using only K'nex pieces.
    • Teams may include a backdrop or artwork, but judges will not consider this in their scoring.

    • Teams are asked to share their ideas in a presentation for the judges.
    • Each presentation will be 2 minutes or less.
    • Every student on the team should present.
    • Judges may ask questions of the team after the presentation.

    Scoring Rubrics
    Teams may use this rubric of the judging criteria while preparing their projects.

    Padlet Resource for Advisors

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For more information

Save the Date:

  • K'NEX STEM Design Competition will be: March 26 (Elementary & Middle School

    Teacher on-boarding:
    November 8, 2023   

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