Teams of high school students from across the Commonwealth are challenged to select a real-world problem, conduct research, design, build and present a device that is capable of making the quality of life better for citizens of Pennsylvania.
Throughout the challenge, students engage with their local community to learn about STEM careers and the skills necessary to be employable and successful in STEM-related Pennsylvania industries. Developing solutions to problems rooted in the community will build the skills necessary for students to be successful in postsecondary STEM opportunities. To culminate the experience, students present their device and findings to a panel of judges. The challenge tests the teams’ communication, problem-solving, critical thinking skills and creativity, while providing a unique opportunity to share their creativity with students from across the state.
There will be no Regional Competition held by the Intermediate Units for the 2020-21 school year. Instead, teams will compete in the State Competition only, which will take place virtually in April 2021. Each registered team will be provided with a $600 stipend to fabricate a prototype of their device. *Registered teams that do not produce a submission and compete in the state competition will be required to return the full stipend amount as noted on the webpage. Learn more about the stipend or how to remit those funds.
The competition will consist of two divisions:
- Division 1: Those who competed in the STATE COMPETITION in the last 5 years
- Division 2: Those who have not competed in the STATE COMPETITION in the last 5 years
Additional details about the competition timeline and presentation options are listed under the 2020-21 Competition Details section below. For more information about the event, please visit the Governor's STEM website.
2020-21 Competition Details
Pennsylvania is home to some of the most technologically diverse and scientifically sophisticated companies in the world. With these avenues for employment existing in our communities, it is important that students develop an understanding of STEM concepts and gain STEM competencies. The Governor’s PA STEM Competition is an annual themed academic contest for students in grades 9-12 that is focused on exposing students to STEM concepts, skills, and occupations. This year’s theme is “Improving Pennsylvania through STEM.” The purpose of the competition is to increase STEM-related educational opportunities for students at the regional and state levels. Furthermore, the PA STEM Competition intends to raise awareness of the importance of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education.
Virtual Presentation Options
Student teams are still required to submit their written proposal. However, it should be included with one of the presentation package options outlined below. A rubric that includes additional details will be provided in the near future.
Student teams are no longer being asked to engage in a live presentation format. This is due to feedback from advisors on 4/16. Student teams are required to submit their presentation package using one of the following options as a guide for completion of their device/project presentation:
- Option 1: If the student team has access to Zoom or any other video conferencing platform that allows for screen recording, students may do a presentation as if it were a live presentation. However, the presentation must be recorded and sent in with the presentation package.
- Option 2: If the student team is unable to access Zoom or any other video conferencing platform due to connectivity issues, access to internet, or district restrictions, students may do a presentation that remains within the boundaries provided to teams by their district. This presentation should include the criteria set forth within the state rubric. It is at the discretion of the student team to present the overall functionality of the device/prototype in a creative way (i.e., voiceovers, still pictures, drawings, PowerPoint, Prezi, Flipgrid).
Please note: All members of the team should be part of the video presentation and Phase 1 & 2 components are due no later than Friday, April 9 at 9:00pm.
Virtual Competition Timeline
Now through April 9
Teams will be working on both Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the competition. These phases include the written proposal and device/prototype presentation. If you are unsure of the options offered to your team, please see the virtual presentation options sent out to advisors in December 2020. If there are questions for the STEM team, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Phase 1 and 2 components will be due no later than Friday, April 9 at 9:00pm.
April 11 - April 17
Judges will be reviewing and scoring team projects using Phase 1 and 2 components submitted by 9:00pm on April 9. The judges will be placed in regional groups by division and will be given a random group of projects to view and score. The top project from each group of judges will be selected based on the scoring rubric provided to advisors back in December.
The top teams (one team from each set of judges) will be notified that their project will advance to the final round of judging, starting on April 19. The remaining teams that did not place in the top four teams will be notified accordingly.
*Note: Three special awards have been developed to honor contributions made to the Commonwealth that will impact the medical, sustainability, and survivability needs of all citizens of Pennsylvania. Each project has been placed into one of three categories (medical, sustainability, survivability) based on their project description submitted to the STEM team. View the description of each category. The three teams will be notified that their project has been awarded one of these category awards on April 23.
April 19 - April 22
The top projects in each region per division that are advancing to final judging will be viewed and scored by all state competition judges. These projects will be given the title of Grand Champion (1st place), First Runner Up (2nd place), and Second Runner Up (3rd place).