This section will be updated as new materials become available. 


Teams are encouraged to look at the competition rubrics to gain a better understanding of how projects and presentations will be evaluated. Scoring rubrics associated with the regional and state-level competitions are located below:


  • Who should I contact if I have any questions? 

Please contact Patrice Semicek ( and/or Ben DeSantis (


  • Who is eligible to participate?  

The competition is open to students in grades 9 through 12 attending public, charter, private, and career technical education centers in Pennsylvania. Schools will select a team of up to five students. Students will work under the guidance of a teacher mentor approved by the school.


  • How does funding work? What costs are schools responsible for? 

All registered schools will receive $500 stipends to design and build a prototype of their prototype/device. Stipends will be provided to school principals, who will disperse funds to the school team as requested. Teams are not required to spend the entire $500 stipend, but must account for funds as part of its budget document. Any team that drops out of the competition and does not participate in the regional competition will be required to immediately return the full amount of the stipend. Once teams reach the state competition, they will be given an additional allotment of $750, and must implement potential improvements as outlined in their regional project presentation. Schools are responsible for all other costs (e.g. transportation). 


  • Does each team need an advisor? What are the responsibilities of the advisor? 

Each team must have an 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 advisor is to supervise work sessions, provide support, and facilitate positive collaboration and teamwork. Judges reserve the right to disqualify or deduct points from any team that is found to have violated the rules or the spirit of the rules.


  • How does this competition work and how do students pick a project?

Each team will use their stipend to design and build a prototype of their device/project that can accomplish a series of tasks, provide a solution to a community based problem, and improves the lives of Pennsylvanians. In order to ensure equity, teams will not be permitted to use more than $500 worth of materials for their prototype (this includes donated materials/components). For example, a project cannot include a $700 component that was donated by a community sponsor. Teams cannot spend more than their project stipend and must provide proof of purchase for all components used in their creation. Mechanisms should be primarily autonomous; remote control is permitted to initiate a command, but not control to the function of a task. In the identification and research of a team’s authentic problem, students will engage with their local communities to learn about STEM-related careers. Developing solutions to problems rooted in the community will build the skills necessary for students to be successful in STEM opportunities postsecondary. To culminate the experience, students will demonstrate their creation at the regional competition to a panel of IU judges and must clearly articulate their understanding of STEM principles, Pennsylvania’s STEM needs, and the need to produce practical solutions to real world problems. The winner from the regional competition will advance to the state competition.


  •  What will it look like on the day of the regional competition? 
    • There are two phases on the day of the regional competition:
      • Phase I – Prototype and Project Plan: Students will demonstrate their creation to a panel of IU judges and must clearly articulate their understanding of STEM principles, Pennsylvania’s STEM needs, and the need to produce practical solutions to real world problems. To support their creation, each team will submit a project plan to the judges. The panel of IU judges will use a rubric provided by the Statewide STEM Planning Committee to provide a score to each participating team.
      • Phase II – Project in a Box:  Teams will be given a box of materials and 30 minutes to complete a set of tasks. The project in the box activity will be separate from the prototype. This exercise will be an opportunity to demonstrate to the judges the cohesive nature of the team and earn points for teamwork, ingenuity, positive attitudes, problem solving, critical thinking, and creativity.


  • What are the prizes? 
    • Regional Competition: First place team will receive a trophy, certificates, and advance to the state competition.
    • State Competition: Each student member of the teams that finish first, second, and third at the state competition will receive a trophy and a college scholarships. The value of the scholarships is as follows:
      • First Place: $2,000 college scholarship for each team member
      • Second Place: $1,000 college scholarship for each team member.
      • Third Place: $500 college scholarship for each team member.