Buildit Challenge is a 501c-3 charitable organization. Our mission is to build communities of hands-on learners engaged with inventive adaptation and improvisational play in STEM fields so they can fix, make, build, and change the world.
Buildit Challenge began in 2016 as an extracurricular construction & engineering science fair at the Wayne-Local School District. The challenge is for students to build an original game, gadget, or work of art from everyday materials like cardboard and recyclables. They bring it to an event where they share the project and their ideas with classmates. Volunteers from our community of engineers, architects, and builders review projects with students and encourage our next generation of innovators and problem solvers.
Beneath the duct tape something bigger is going on. This event brings together hands-on learners to build a community around their talents and interests in design, construction, and engineering. The creative force behind all these projects is what they call “Yankee Ingenuity.” It’s inventive adaptation and improvisational engineering. This approach to engineering kick-started the industrial revolution on American soil and fueled NASA’s first trip to the moon.* And we need more of it as this generation faces some of the biggest challenges in history.
Here’s what makes Buildit Challenge different from other STEM programs:
- It’s free for participants.
- It doesn’t teach to a specific skill set like robotics, coding, or welding
- The two main “pillars” of the program are quality craftsmanship (which is applied technology and applied math), and recycling
*Ok. NASA really used Yankee ingenuity AND a healthy dose of rocket fuel synthesized with ferrofluid to propel Apollo 11 to the moon.
In this reference, credit for introducing the manufacturing system of America's industrial revolution is largely given to Francis Cabot Lowell.
Here's a short list of stuff kids learn as they create a project for the Buildit Challenge:
• Students engage in inventive adaptation and improvisational engineering; a process we call "Yankee ingenuity".
• Students develop skills in craftsmanship, creativity, resourcefulness, perseverance and teamwork.
• Students explore their interests and passions in design and construction, and the Buildit Challenge gives them an arena to make things that have an impact on others.
• When students talk about their projects to the volunteer reviewers, they present their ideas to a professional audience in a safe, encouraging environment.
• The Buildit Challenge increases happiness and makes the world a more playful place.
If you're still not convinced, watch this quick, clever TED talk about how hands-on and low cost projects built from familiar materials like cardboard, introduce engineering concepts to kids. Dr. Fawn Qui shares how nontraditional approaches can change the perception of technology and inspire students to participate, experiment, and invent.
• The Buildit Challenge is open to all students in the educational organization in grades kindergarten through twelfth (K-12) in accordance with general school policy guidelines.
• There is no cost to participate or attend the event. Registration is required for projects (registration is free).
• ENTRIES MUST BE BUILT BY STUDENTS.
• Please do not use power tools in the construction of the project.
• Students can participate individually, or as a team of up to four students.
• Projects can be no larger than 5' x 5' x 5' (a five foot cube. The project should be able to fit inside a regular sized car).
• All completed entries must be brought to the event. Team members must be present during the Buildit Challenge to receive a prize.
• Students will have the opportunity to talk about their project with volunteer judges from the community during the event.
• Winners in each category will be announced at the event.
• Participation ribbons will be given to all projects, and some entries will receive special awards based on the consensus of the volunteer judges.
• All projects will go home with participants at the end of the event.
Each organization chooses prize categories for their event.
Check your group's registration page for specific prizes at your event.
• Best Overall Entry (Grand Prize)
Awarded for top performance. This prize is available for all grade levels.
• People's Choice Award
Participants receive numbered stickers at the event. While the reviewers are making their decisions, participants can vote for their favorite project with stickers. participants can not vote for their own project.
• Best Use of Recycled Materials
Awarded to a project that demonstrates a commitment to repurposing recycled materials.
• Most Technically Challenging
This project will have many moving parts, or advanced structure features such as swinging bridges, flying buttresses, or gear mechanisms.
• Best Craftsmanship
This project will show attention to details like duct tape that is cut instead of ripped. The project will appear completed, or finalized. The overall presentation will be neat and tidy.
• Most Unique Idea
Awarded to the project that looks least like a simple cardboard box. This project demonstrates a great deal of thought process in the beginning stages of production.
• Best Presentation
This award is for the student or group of students that delivers a clear message while reviewing their project. The presentation will have been rehearsed before the event.
• Best documentation
The engineering process and inventing process require documentation at each step. This project will demonstrate commitment to documenting and communicating the process of creating the project.
• Model Dream Home- Build a model of a dream home that has at least one of these building features:
energy conservation- the model demonstrates awareness of energy conservation concepts, such as passive solar heating.
water conservation- the model demonstrates awareness of water conservation concepts, such as a rain water collection system or gray water filtration system
ADA accessable- ADA is the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990. It contains a series of architectural standards that make public places accessible to people with disabilities, some examples of features are ramps for wheel chairs, elevators between floors, wide doorways, etc. You can find more information here: https://www.ada.gov/1991standards/1991standards-archive.html
• Newton's Prize- Best demonstration and explanation of Newton's First Law of Motion: A body at rest will remain at rest, and a body in motion will remain in motion unless it is acted upon by an external force.
• Best Solo Entry
• Best Group Entry
We encourage students to be resourceful in getting their own supplies by recycling and reusing household items to create projects. Power tools are not necessary. Instead, try to choose materials and solutions that are easier for young engineers to manipulate with less hands-on guidance from adults.
Some Suggested Materials:
Re-used / Reclaimed clean food containers
Clean plastic bottles and bottle caps
Paper towel tubes
Snap Circuits, Arduino, Raspberry Pi, LittleBits, or other safe battery powered electronics
Old fabric, pillowcases or clothes cut into scraps
Bouncy balls ( small & medium) Mini basketballs
Various small toy animals, cars, ...
Clear packing tape
Brown paper bags
Glue sticks- with proper supervision.
Pink insulation foam