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BCESC Hosting STEM Design Challenge Competition
Posted By:  Elizabeth Beadle
Wednesday, January 31, 2018

blogThe field is set for the first southwest Ohio Thermo Fisher Scientific STEM Challenge using K’nex plastic construction materials. The Butler County Educational Service Center coordinated the event and it is scheduled for Friday, February 23, 8:30 AM – 12:00 noon at the Harrison High School Sports Arena. Awards will be presented to the top performing teams between 11:30 AM and 12:00 noon at the conclusion of the judging.

Thirty teams of four junior high students from Cincinnati Christian (Fairfield), Edgewood Middle School, Harrison Junior School, Middletown Middle School, Royalmont Middle School (Mason), Talawanda Middle School, and Wilson Middle School (Hamilton) will be building structures, presenting their research and being judged by employees of the Thermo Fisher Scientific Company of Cincinnati. All 30 teams will be competing for the top awards between 8:30 AM – 11:30 AM. Trophies for the top STEM projects are scheduled to be announced beginning at 11:30 AM in the Harrison High School Sports Arena.

The STEM Challenge competition is based on solving a selected real world problem, in this case, pollution in our waterways. Teams are ask to collaboratively find ways to clean up and address the water pollution issues.

An example of a past year’s Pennsylvania competition from 2017 can be found on YouTube by clicking onto:

Students and their advisors began the completion on Monday, January 22, by hearing the webinar directions presented by Mr. Robert Marshall of Thermo Fisher Scientific, 300 Industry Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15275. K’nex kits with nearly 600 pieces were delivered to each school. Dave Baker, Butler County Educational Service Center Coordinator, works with area educators as an educational consultant. Dave Baker can be reached by calling his office 513-896-2354, cell 740-815-7913 or by email

Challenge Rules:

+A team of 4 students will work together on the project (any combination of 6th, 7th or 8th grade students from your school).
+Only K’Nex pieces & K’Nex motors may be used (1400 piece limit [stock kit Thermo Fisher provides meets this requirement]) *bonus materials acceptable as announced.All pieces must be brought disassembled the day of the challenge.
+Each team will need to bring a journal & a blueprint to competition *details in each challenge presentations.
+Each team will need to prepare a presentation (max 2 minutes) on their model and how they answered the challenge.
+Bonus Material – ocean trash may be represented by something other than K’nex as part of the final design but not required. (See attached info.)

Judging Criteria (Click for rubric):

+Design / Challenge Success

A Butler County Educational Service Center MakerSpace demonstration/display will also take place during and after the competition featuring high tech components.



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    • 02/16/2017 - State Board Member Charlotte M
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August 18, 2015 Testimony
Cari Wynne, Supervisor
Butler County Educational Service Center Success Program


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