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 2023 K'Nex Challenge is here! 
    Major environmental issues, including climate change and pollution, are currently facing our world. Your team is being tasked to research environmental issues, identify one that your team would like to address, and create a solution to that issue. Build a prototype out of K’Nex that supports your solution.

    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 30th           

                                      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.
    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 design notebook and 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 30 (Elementary) and (Middle School)

    HYBRID Presentations and Awards PROGRAMS:
    Elementary School

    Middle School:
    March 30; 11:00 AM 

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