Design & Pitch Challenges in STEM, Round 1


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Students will meet inventors and entrepreneurs who share their insights into the process of creation, from concept to prototype, pitch, production, and distribution. They will encounter a selection of Challenges that can be approached from many angles, using different areas of knowledge, techniques, and technology. Finally, it is their task to come up with an innovative solution to a Challenge and create a short, engaging pitch to convince a panel of investors that it’s worth funding.

It is critical that students learn to recognize when to reach out and teach themselves something new about STEM, their clients, or the situation. The world needs their big ideas!

Appropriate Age Levels:
Grades 6-12

Included Materials

Challenge: Operation Lifeline
During natural disasters, delivering essential supplies like water, food, and medicine becomes a race against time. This challenge becomes even harder when the supplies have to be kept cold the whole time so that they don’t spoil. In this Design & Pitch Challenge, students will be guided by Challenge Champion Kris Ludwig to find a workable solution for this important problem.

Challenge: Power Me Up
Gas-powered vehicles release harmful greenhouse gases and rely on a natural resource that will someday be gone. As a result, more and more people are buying electric vehicles. This rise in electric vehicle ownership means there is a need for more electric vehicle charging stations. In this Design & Pitch Challenge, students will design a company that builds charging stations for electric vehicles.

Challenge: Keep It Real
Smartphones are everywhere & increase the ease of everyday life. From calling a ride, to ordering a pizza, we can connect with people across the world with a single tap of the screen. But what happens when smartphones get in the way of communication? In this Design & Pitch Challenge, students will design a way to help people monitor their phone usage and better connect face-to-face.

Challenge: Building Algorithms
In today’s internet world, data on people’s opinions are highly sought after, and a common way to understand those opinions is through surveys. Researchers create formulas, or algorithms, that analyze survey responses in an automated process, and then sell the results to high bidders. Because of high demand, many successful businesses are built around algorithms. The student’s challenge is to build an algorithm that uses people’s opinions to rate or rank something they care about as the start of their successful business.

Challenge: Prototype to Profit
Being an entrepreneur is about finding problems and turning them into opportunities. It’s about inventing new solutions that create value for customers and using those solutions to make money, because even the best ideas need funding to succeed. At the heart of making money is finding the right business model type. The right business model type can be the difference between success and failure for an idea. And, sometimes, the business model type itself is the solution.

Challenge: Erase Food Waste
The way food looks is one indicator of whether it is safe to eat. But in the United States, we take this idea too far. Most grocery stores and restaurants won’t offer produce to their customers that isn’t perfectly shaped and colored, even if it is perfectly safe to eat. This results in a lot of food waste. In this Design & Pitch Challenge, you will design a food-related business that uses a sliding price scale to reduce food waste.

Challenge: Fix It: Design for Community Impact
In every community, there are problems that need solving or things that need improving. The most effective solutions are ones that meet the needs and desires of the community. If you pay attention and ask questions, you will notice what people want and what they’re lacking. Entrepreneurs don’t wait on the sidelines for others to do the work. They jump in and use their energy and passion to make change happen. What can you fix in your community?

Challenge: Fix It: Flashy Fashion
Technology can now be integrated into clothes, bags, and wearable devices for both self-expression and health & safety applications. Designers’ creativity is shining in fashion shows, and tools like LEDs are now accessible enough that anyone can learn to make wearable technology. How will your design light up the world?

Challenge: Pollution Solution
Plastic is a big environmental problem. The world is becoming overwhelmed by plastic waste, especially plastic containers that hold consumer products. Can you imagine a solution to replace plastics that does not cause as much harm to the environment?



Additional information


Base Product, Base + Advanced Certificate Add-On