CLARION — Riverview Intermediate Unit #6 held a regional PA Governor’s STEM Competition on Feb. 27 at the RIU6 headquarters in Clarion. This annual competition provides local school districts with a unique opportunity to tackle authentic problems utilizing skills in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, according to competition organizers.
This year’s competition, “Improving Pennsylvania Through STEM,” featured teams of students from Allegheny-Clarion Valley, DuBois, Jefferson Tech, Neshannock (IU4 team), Oil City, Titusville, and Valley Grove school districts.
The competition included three phases: Project Plan, Project Presentation, and Project in a Box. Each team received a $500 stipend and were challenged to research and identify a real world problem facing Pennsylvanians. The task was to develop a prototype that provides a practical solution to the identified problem. Along with the prototype, teams were required to provide a detailed project plan including a budget.
On the day of the competition, the teams demonstrated and explained the practical application of their device to a panel of judges. In addition, teams competed in a Project-in-a-Box activity, where each team was tasked with building a self-propelled vehicle using provided materials. The teams were scored on 21st century learning skills of communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity.
DuBois Area School District won first place in the competition and will compete in the state competition. They set out to solve a problem at the Bellefonte State Fish Hatchery involving fish loss due to predatory birds. The team developed a device using variations of both ultrasonic and audible frequencies that change in order to continuously deter birds from the hatchery without harming them.
The Jeff Tech team made an active shooter door barricade. Team members included: Domanic Auge, Cort Holben, Ariel Forrest, Austin Holliday, Laura Beth Glenn, and advisor Tom Tinker.
The competition judges included: Clarion University professor, Dr. Doug Smith; RIU6 Board President, Julie Hartley; Cortney Ortz of Advanced Disposal, Diana Brush from Clarion University’s Career Development Center, Adam Hennessy from Clarion PennDot, Megan Reiter of Varischetti Holdings, and Matthew Stoey from BC3 Brockway.
Throughout the day, the students participated in various activities including career exploration with Google Expedition virtual reality, Sphero coding challenges, sending and receiving binary messages, designing marshmallow catapults, and a video reflection activity. RIU6 partnered with Patricia Anderson and Staci Hritz from Penn State Extension, Dr. Lisa Kovalchick from California University of PA, and the IU6 Education Programs department to facilitate these activities.
Regional competitions were held at intermediate units throughout the state during the month of February. The state finals take place on May 18 at Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology in Lancaster.
For more information, visit the website at www.riu6.org or call 814-226-7103.