Food security is our 2019 Ohio Design Challenge topic

12/18/2018 Update: Visit Tell us if you’re participating in the 2019 #STEMfeedsOhio Design Challenge  to complete the registration of your school for the design challenge: 


Did you know that Ohio has 28 million acres of land and 14 million of them are used in agriculture? Did you know that agriculture is the number one economic driver in Ohio—bringing in over $105 billion dollars each year?

Our state is a huge producer of food, but each day one in three Ohioans does not know where their next meal will come from. This is called food insecurity—not having access to sufficient, healthy food. Food security is the opposite—having access to sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. As our world population grows, this problem will become more and more prevalent. Scientists predict that we will have 9 billion people on earth by 2050, and we need to begin to reconsider how we grow, transport, and consume food to ensure that we can feed billions of people as our population grows.

For the past the past two years, the Ohio STEM Learning Network has invited Ohio’s K-12 students to participate in a statewide design challenge, and this year we’re doing it again.

This year’s design challenge partners are the Ohio Soybean Farmers and Ohio Corn and Wheat.

This year’s challenge is to:

Work as a team to imagine, design and prototype a solution to increase food security in your life, community, or world.

Improving local access to food will prepare us for the greater challenge of feeding 9 billion people by 2050.

Solving this challenge will require thinking beyond opening more grocery stores—we are asking you to consider systemic approaches to food production from biotechnology, food production and environmental considerations. Here are some examples of the different systems that impact food security.

At Battelle, we know that teachers are our bridge to the future, equipping students with the skills to solve the problems of tomorrow. We’re excited to see what your students can achieve and hope to shine a light on the great work that you do in classrooms all across Ohio.

YouTube: Our video introduction to the Food Security Design Challenge with students

This design challenge can be completed as a part of a single class, or as an interdisciplinary activity. Students will use the design process to:

  1. Define the problem
  2. Conduct background research
  3. Brainstorm solutions
  4. Choose the best solution
  5. Build a prototype
  6. Test and redesign the solution

Once students have their solutions, they will present them at a school-wide showcase. Each school will have the opportunity to send students to our statewide showcase in Columbus in May.

Previous showcases have featured guests including Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, Secretary of State Jon Husted, State Superintendent Paolo DeMaria and many others. Click here to watch the news reports on our showcases from 2017 and 2018.


Throughout the fall, we will work with the Ohio Soybean Farmers and Ohio Corn and Wheat to provide a variety of supports for teachers and students participating in this challenge.

First, we have a resource page here with more than 60 different links to get you started. Bookmark to see what we add over the course of the year.

We will follow up with blog posts outlining successful design challenges from the past, interviews with subject matter experts on topics like biotechnology and agriculture systems, and tips on how to support students as they work through this challenge.

On October 18th, we are hosting a FREE statewide convening here in Columbus. This convening will be a professional development day dedicated to support teachers facilitating this (or other) design challenges. Mark your calendar for Thursday, October 18th and join us in Columbus! More details to come.

Update: Register for the October 18 convening on the design challenge here.

Right now, we need to know who will be participating. Even if you’re still thinking about it, please give us your name—this isn’t a commitment, yet, but we do want to know who to reach out to! Fill out the form below.

Sign up your school

12/18/2018 Update: Visit Tell us if you’re participating in the 2019 #STEMfeedsOhio Design Challenge  to complete the registration of your school for the design challenge: 

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