Philadelphia Middle Schoolers To Compete To Build Sustainable Vehicle Models

Philadelphia students will be asked to build environmentally friendly vehicles using K'nex pieces similar to those pictured.Teams of Philadelphia students in grades 7-8 will compete to build models of environmentally sustainable people moving vehicles thanks to a collaboration between the University City Science Center, the Philadelphia Math + Science Coalition and a private partner.

Dubbed "Building Philly," the challenge is open to all schools in the city and will ask students to use K'nex parts to build their models. Winners, who will be selected by a panel of judges May 19, will win K'nex shopping sprees, building kits and tours of the company's headquarters.

"Engaging students through experiential learning is a demonstrated strategy to spark their interest in STEM and ensure that they understand the real-life implications of STEM subjects," says Stephen S. Tang, president and CEO at the University City Science Center, in a prepared statement. "This is of crucial importance to the region as we consider how we are going to develop the next generation of innovators."

Optional workshops for teachers guiding participants in the challenge will be held at the University City Science Center February 24 at 10 and 4.

"This STEM challenge teaches valuable science, technology, engineering and math concepts, and encourages teamwork, public speaking and presentation abilities that are vital to life-long success," said Michael Araten, president and CEO of K'nex, in a news release. "In a day and age in which STEM jobs are increasing faster than non-STEM jobs, the need for educated and excited workers is ever-growing."

More information is available at

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