More than 160 students from 17 school districts and nonpublic schools participated in a regional STEM Design Challenge competition hosted by ARIN Intermediate Unit 28 on March 19 at Elderton High School.

Students worked in teams and used K’NEX building pieces to complete a predetermined construction challenge. K’NEX are interlocking plastic rods and connectors used to build models, machines and architectural structures. Teams competed either in the fourth- and fifth-grade division or the sixth- through eighth-grade division. This year there were 23 teams in each grade band category.

The teams were tasked with creating a machine that moved three objects at least 6 inches across a table. The crane had to pick up an object, move it at least 6 inches and set it back down.

Teams in the sixth through eighth grades also had to present a budget for their project.

All teams were asked to consider how environmentally friendly their machine was and all teams arrived at the challenge with a blueprint that they designed.

Winners from the 6-8 grade division were from Freeport Area Middle School: Anita Bhat, Olivia Giancola, Simona Pugliese and Elise Whitlinger. The teacher adviser is Clint Crowell.

From the 4-5 grade division, the winners were from Divine Redeemer School: Bodie Karns, Nadia Lukehart, Lily Gutherie and Dustin Raybuck. The teacher adviser is Jane Hulings.

These winners will represent the Armstrong-Indiana region at the state competition at Harrisburg University in May.

ARIN IU 28 provides innovative educational programs, training and support services through partnerships and visionary leadership in Armstrong and Indiana Counties.