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. Teams are provided with a $500 stipend to fabricate a prototype of their device.
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. Specifically, teams shall collaborate with a local company and work with a mentor employed by the business. To culminate the experience, students present their device and findings to a panel of judges. The challenge will test teams’ communication, problem-solving, critical thinking skills and creativity, while providing a unique opportunity to share their creativity with students from across the state.
The competition is open to students in grades 9-12 attending public, charter, private and career and technical education centers in Pennsylvania. Schools will select a team of up to 5 students. The students will work under the guidance of a teacher mentor approved by the schools.
For more information, please visit the Governor's STEM website. If you would like to register your team's commitment to participate in the IU#24 (Chester County) Regional Qualifying Competition, please complete the form below by Friday, November 20, 2020.
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.
Intermediate Unit Responsibilities
Disseminate competition information and materials to all eligible districts and schools serving students in grades 9-12. This includes career and technical education centers and charter schools.
Teams must register by November 20, 2021, via the competition website.
IUs are asked to host regional competitions during the month of February at a date and time identified by each IU. It is strongly recommended that IUs host competitions in early February and identify potential snow make-up dates. All hosting IUs will receive a $1,000 stipend to cover the costs associated with hosting and promoting a regional competition.
The one-day regional competitions will be comprised of two phases designed to allow students to showcase their solutions and approaches to a real-life STEM challenge, demonstrate an understanding of STEM needs/opportunities, and show their ability to work as a team. Please reference the official contest rules for specific information about the phases.
IUs will be responsible for selecting judges and determining the appropriate number that will be needed. For example, IUs with a large number of teams may elect to have an additional number of judges. Judges should have the ability to evaluate projects without bias and should possess background knowledge of STEM principles – from any combination of educational or professional experience.
The rules and rubrics for the two phases of the regional competition will be sent to the IUs and teams to guide the development of their written proposal, project/device, presentation and the project in a box. For both phases of the regional competition, the IU panel of judges will use a rubric, provided by the Statewide STEM Planning Committee, to provide a score to each participating team. The total score from each of the judges will be added together and awarded to the team. The team with the highest points will represent the IU in the state competition.
All rubrics are available to teams to guide the development of their written proposal, device, and presentation. These rubrics, along with contest rules, frequently asked questions and other materials are available on the PA STEM Competition website.
In the event that an IU has a smaller number of interested teams, schools may be assigned to partner with neighboring IUs and host a combined competition. All regional competitions must be concluded by February 29, 2020 and the names of winning regional teams must be submitted by IUs to the Pennsylvania Department of Education by March 2, 2020.
The statewide STEM competition will be held virtually on May 6, 2021. More information will be shared as the state competition rules become finalized.
Teams are responsible for their transportation, if applicable, to and from all competitions.
Participation in the PA STEM Competition is limited to students in grades 9-12 from Pennsylvania schools. Teams of up to five students are selected from each interested high school to compete. Eligible participants include public schools, career and technical education centers, charter schools and private schools.
Interested schools will select one team of five high school students (grade 9 to grade 12) currently enrolled in the school and one authorized teacher coach/mentor who is currently teaching at the participating high school. Each high school can only field one team. Entries will be accepted on a first come, first- serve basis.
Each team must have a teacher advisor that is approved by the participating school to serve in this capacity. This individual will work with the team as an advisor, but may not directly help with the development of the team’s solution. The role of the teacher advisor is to supervise work sessions, provide support, and facilitate positive collaboration and teamwork.
Schools/teams must register by November 20, 2020 via the competition website – http://www.education.pa.gov/K-12/STEM/Pages/Registration.aspx. Registration packets containing key information and permission slips will be available online. Competition packets will be available online.
To register, each team member must have a signed permission form from their parent and/or guardian. The team must also have a written permission form the district superintendent, school principal and teacher sponsor. School Principals or a designee are responsible for the record keeping of all permission slips and sending to the participating Intermediate Unit (IU) by January 31, 2021.
Each registered school/team will receive a $500 stipend to design and build a prototype of their prototype or device. Stipends will be provided to participating school principals, who will disperse funds to school teams as requested. Teams are not required to spend the entire $500 stipend, but must account for funds as part of their budget document. Any unused funds will be returned to the IU and the Department of Education. Any team that does not participate in the regional competition will be required to immediately return the full amount of the stipend.
Beginning March 2, 2021, teams that successfully move on to the statewide competition will implement improvements as identified in their regional competition project plans.
Each state finalist will receive an additional $750 stipend to make any modifications listed in their project plan, as well as any additional improvements that the stipend allows. Any unused funds will be returned to the IU and the Department of Education. Stipends will be provided to LEA principals, who will disperse funds to school teams as requested. Teams are not required to spend the entire $750 stipend, but must account for funds as part of their budget document. Any team that does not participate in the statewide competition will be required to immediately return the full amount of the stipend.
Participating teams will give presentations to a panel of judges regarding the STEM related skills/careers that are essential to ensuring a strong economy and prosperous future for Pennsylvania. Please refer to the competition rules and rubrics for more specific competition information.