Hundreds of Students Compete in K’NEX Challenge

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SCRANTON -- Students in Lackawanna County turned children's toys into science experiments on Monday.

More than 100 students from a dozen different schools showed up at Johnson College in Scranton for the third annual K'NEX Challenge.

It wasn't all fun and games for the students and their K'NEX toys at Johnson College in Scranton. It was more of a competition, a competition that requires skill and a lot of creativity.

"With the push for science education and STEM educations, it's one thing that we really like the kids to be innovative," said curriculum specialist Douglas Womelsdorf. "The projects they have are really creations of their own and they have very few restrictions."

Nearly 100 fourth through eighth grade students from over a dozen schools in northeastern Pennsylvania competed in the third annual K'NEX Challenge hosted by the Northeast Educational Intermediate Unit 19.

The competition allows students to showcase their abilities and creativity using science, technology, engineering, and math.

"It's kind of hard. We had to take this and we made like six different models from real wide to real narrow and you just have to have a lot of support inside," said Elk Lake student Caleb Wilson.

"We might get a good education and it helps with our teamwork," said North Pocono Intermediate student Mia Gray.

Not only did the students at the K'NEX Challenge have to build a structure, they also had to make sure it held weight, and many of them went to extremes, holding books and even dumbbells.

Tiffany Leventhal teaches in the Wayne Highlands School District. She thinks the competition opens up many opportunities for students.

"Some kids just feel like if they are not talented in one aspect, they may not be able to be as successful in other areas, but here you can bring people that are artistically talented, that have the engineering," said Leventhal. "And they can kind of see that there are lots of doors that can open for them."

The winner of the challenge will compete against other intermediate units in Harrisburg later in the spring.

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