K’NEX®, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Allegheny Intermediate Unit To Host PA’s First State-Wide STEM Design Challenge

Event to Encourage STEM Education in 4th Through 8th Grade Classrooms

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The STEM Design Challenge teaches valuable science, technology, engineering and math concepts, and encourages teamwork, public speaking and presentation abilities that are vital to life-long success,' said Michael Araten, President and CEO of K’NEX Brands.

Hatfield, PA (PRWEB) April 22, 2014

K’NEX Education®, America’s STEM Building Solution, is pleased to announce a new competition for Pennsylvania students in grades 4-8. The 2014 STEM Design Challenge will be hosted by Harrisburg University on May 2nd and is sponsored by three outstanding Pennsylvania organizations: K’NEX, Thermo Fisher Scientific, and Allegheny Intermediate Unit (IU3).

The STEM Design Challenge encourages students to work as teams to answer a challenge. This year teams are challenged to create an environmentally friendly “people mover.” The vehicle must be able to travel at least 4 feet across the table and must overcome at least one obstacle (hill, curves, landforms, etc.) Obstacles are to be chosen and designed by the team. Teams are only allowed to use K’NEX rods, connectors and motors and will have 2 hours to build their project at the competition. Each team also needs to bring a blueprint to the competition, and prepare a 2 minute presentation on how their model answered the challenge. Teams will be judged on creativity, teamwork, challenge success, design and presentation.

“The STEM Design Challenge teaches valuable science, technology, engineering and math concepts, and encourages teamwork, public speaking and presentation abilities that are vital to life-long success,” said Michael Araten, President and CEO of K’NEX Brands. “In a day and age in which STEM jobs are increasing faster than non-STEM jobs, the need for educated and excited workers is ever-growing. K’NEX, Thermo Fisher Scientific and the Allegheny Intermediate Unit are dedicated to helping to build the leaders of tomorrow.”

Registration for the STEM Design Challenge was open to schools state-wide, and 19 out of the 29 PA Intermediate units have enrolled in the competition. Participating intermediate units have hosted their own mini-challenges, and the top two teams in each division (grades 4-5 and 6-8) have been invited to compete at the state-wide competition.

Upon arrival at Harrisburg University on May 2nd students will be treated to opening remarks from Governor Tom Corbett. After welcoming the students, Gov. Corbett will tour the competition floor and get a closer look at some of the projects.

“We’re working every day to ensure our children in Pennsylvania are ready to learn, ready to grow and ready to succeed because our students are our future,” said Gov. Corbett. “I commend the vision and leadership of Michael Araten and K’NEX for creating the STEM Design Challenge and engaging students in skills that will help them succeed in the future. Companies like K’NEX and Thermo Fisher Scientific, and organizations like Allegheny Intermediate Unit are at the heart of what makes Pennsylvania great.”

“We are honored to have Governor Corbett at the STEM Design Challenge, and excited he will be welcoming the students to the competition,” said Araten. “STEM is the heart of innovation and innovation drives growth, profit and jobs of the future.”

Awards will be given to the top team in each age group and prizes include:

First Place: $500 K’NEX Education shopping spree for the teacher and a Thunderbolt Strike Roller Coaster Building Set, valued at $119.99 each, for each member of the team.
Second Place: $300 K’NEX Education shopping spree for the teacher and a Super Nova Roller Coaster Building Set for each member of the team.
Third Place: $150 K’NEX Education shopping spree for the teacher and a Super Nova Roller Coaster Building Set for each member of the team.

For more information on the STEM Design Challenge, please contact Kate Loffio at kloffio(at)knex(dot)com or 215-996-4209.

About K’NEX Brands
Founded in 1992, K’NEX Brands, the world’s most innovative construction toy company, was established to make and sell what has become one of the world’s leading integrated construction systems for children, and is America’s STEM building solution. Winner of over 250 international awards and recognitions, K’NEX, America’s Building Toy® company, is focused on Building Worlds Kids Love® and encourages youngsters to “imagine, build and play.” From the living room to the classroom, K’NEX has building toys specially designed for every age group and skill level. The K’NEX family of brands includes K’NEX Building Sets, K’NEX Thrill Rides, K’NEX Education™, Lincoln Logs®, Tinkertoy®, NASCAR®, Angry Birds™, Mario Kart Wii™, Mario Kart 7™, Super Mario™, PacMan™, Titanfall™, Family Guy™, Plants vs. Zombies™, and more. Since 1992, The Rodon Group®, a subsidiary of K'NEX Brands, L.P., has manufactured over 31 billion parts for the K'NEX building toy system. Join us as we help build the leaders of tomorrow. For more information, please visit http://www.knex.com or http://www.rodongroup.com.

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