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“STEM GOES ON” - Riverview IU#6 HOSTS 2021 STEM DESIGN CHALLENGE 4th-5th Grade Division

For Immediate Release

CONTACT: Kelsi Wilcox Boyles                                                 

(814) 226-7103 ext. 5211


4th-5th Grade Division


(Clarion - April 2021) Riverview Intermediate Unit #6 recently coordinated the STEM Design Challenge for 4th-5th grade students. This year, the challenge was a virtual experience. Teams were up against many obstacles in preparation, with some team members learning from home, while others in the classroom at school, along with a new competition format to become familiar with and learn. Despite these challenges, eleven teams of students from Cranberry Area and Oil City Area school districts participated in this year’s STEM Design Challenge, taking on new challenge components and excelling in creativity and design thinking. 


STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) is an educational approach to learning that uses Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics to encourage students to apply critical thinking, problem-solving, and collaboration skills across all of their content areas. 


The STEM Design Challenge is sponsored by Thermo Fisher Scientific. The challenge involves keeping a journal, developing a blueprint, using K’nex pieces or any other recyclable material to build the project, and a presentation. This year's task was to rethink a product found in a home or create one that should be found in a home. This could be a new or different way to power a home, a new or updated appliance, a new gadget for home entertainment, etc. In the past, each team would prepare a two-minute presentation and present to a panel of judges, though this year, teams were asked to utilize a multimedia tool of their choice and create a pre-recorded two-minute presentation to share their project components with the judges. Judges then reviewed projects virtually, through the use of electronic rubrics and collaborative notes documents. The awards ceremony also took place virtually on March 31, 2021.


4th & 5th Grade Division:

1St Place

  • First Place: S.P.A.C.E (Solar Power Air Conditioner Experience), Navy Perry, Ella Fleeger, Heidi Kosker, and Zach Wright, Cranberry Area SD

2nd Place

  • Second Place: Sound Station, Sound Powered Charging Station, Cash Findlay, Landon Melat, Martin Sharrar, and Tyler Miller, Cranberry Area SD

3rd Place

  • Third Place: The Dishwasher Project, using recycled and less water, Rylie Johnson and Jack Garver, Seventh Street Elementary, Oil City SD

Team Work

  • Best Teamwork: Solar Source, A Solar Powered Charging Table, Brooks Mason, Ben McClellan, and Finley Gerics, Cranberry Area SD
  • Most Creative Presentation: The Tree Planter, Gracie Birchard and Raegan Milner, Oil City Area SD


The first-place team will represent Riverview IU6 and their district at the state competition to be held virtually in May 2021.


Riverview IU6 would like to thank team advisors, Gayle Mitchell, Cranberry Area SD; Steph Staub, Seventh Street Elementary, Oil City Area SD; and Sarah Seaton, Hasson Heights, Oil City Area SD. We would also like to thank this year’s judges, Dr. Jacqueline Manno, RIU#6 Board Member and Clarion University of PA Science Education Professor; Dr. Sheila Kazar, Clarion University of PA Biology and Environmental Sciences Professor; Sheila Hockman, Brookville Equipment; and Bridget Kennedy, Clarion University of PA, Science in Motion Educator. 


The STEM Design Challenge is coordinated annually by the Education Programs Department at Riverview Intermediate Unit #6. The STEM Design Challenge, along with the Governor STEM Competition and Media and Design Competition are available to all private and public schools in the Riverview IU#6 region. Please contact Kelsi Wilcox Boyles <> if you’d like to learn more about becoming involved in these student opportunities.