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STEM Challenge ‘K’Nex’ Playful Creation to Tomorrow’s Workplace

Judges talk with the tie-dyed architects of "Totally Turbular."
Judges talk with the tie-dyed architects of “Totally Turbular.”
Inventive pirates show off their "Black Marlin" amusement-park ride.
Inventive pirates show off their “Black Marlin” amusement-park ride.
Paul R. Watson II (in blue shirt at right background), Penn College’s dean of academic services and college transitions, helps judge the day's impressive entries.
Paul R. Watson II (in blue shirt at right background), Penn College’s dean of academic services and college transitions, helps judge the day’s impressive entries.
Anxiously and eagerly, a team awaits assessment of its towering achievement.
Anxiously and eagerly, a team awaits assessment of its towering achievement.
A cornucopia of color accompanies the dizzying blur of young minds at work.
A cornucopia of color accompanies the dizzying blur of young minds at work.

The Penn College Field House was the venue for BLaST Intermediate Unit 17’s STEM Design Challenge, which tasked each middle-school team with creating an environmentally friendly amusement park using K’Nex building sets. Thursday’s event featured 26 teams from 12 school districts within IU 17’s coverage area (Bradford, Lycoming, Sullivan and Tioga counties), all demonstrating innovation and skill that make them attractive to future employers. The teams’ projects were judged on design, journaling, blueprints, teamwork, creativity and presentation to the judges. First-place teams advance to state competition, scheduled for May 19 at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology.
Photos by Tia G. La, student photographer