Statewide Design Challenge

Bring STEM to any school with a design challenge

Design challenges are activities or competitions that students participate in to solve real-world problems. Through the challenge, students engage in creative problem-solving, boosting skills like collaboration and grit.

For many schools, participating in the statewide design challenge was the perfect way to begin implementing high-quality STEM education best practices.

Annual statewide challenge

Each year, the Ohio STEM Learning Network hosts a design challenge where students collaborate to create a workable solution to key issues facing our world. Any school in Ohio can participate in the challenge.

Over the course of the challenge, we provide:

  • Online resources for teachers and students
  • Professional development events to support teachers
  • Participation certificates for every student
  • Regional and state level awards each spring
“It was such a great opportunity! Thanks to everyone who plans it and sponsors the event. I am excited to participate again next year. As a teacher, I learned a lot!”
Tina M.
230509 Starlab wide composite for osln site

Dates and deadlines

  • May 12: Challenge announced
  • August 7: Challenge opens
  • August 12: Please hold for a special kick-off event for the challenge
  • December 8: Deadline for student designs to optional sticker competition 
  • January 12, 2024: Teachers submit student solutions
  • February 1, 2024: Hub winners announced and selected students invited to state showcase
  • February 23, 2024: State showcase in-person on Battelle’s main campus in Columbus for top teams

Student solutions

Each participating school will submit a single solution, created by a student or team of students.*

Solutions will typically include:

  • A presentation clearly communicating the proposed idea that could include slides, a poster, or prototype
  • Evidence showing the path to the solution through the engineering design cycle

* At this time, student teams will be limited to four participants. Final details and requirements for submissions will be published in an upcoming guidebook for educators.


Optional: Sticker design contest

Students will be invited to create a sticker design based around the challenge.

The winning designs will be produced and distributed to all of the schools participating in this year’s design challenge. 

The design will also be featured on the awards for challenge winners. 

Students do not need to participate in the statewide design challenge to enter a sticker design to the competition.

Coming soon: Guidebook for participating educators

Participants in last year’s #STEMsecuresOhio Design Challenge, received a brief guidebook. The guidebook provided one-stop shop for quick answers about getting started with design thinking, sample resources, and much more.

The design challenge guidebook will be updated for this year’s challenge to support health and well-being aboard Starlab.

About Starlab

Starlab will be a free-flying commercial space station, following the International Space Station after the current station’s retirement in 2030.

Elements from Starlab will be a key part of the George Washington Carver Science Park, the first-ever science park with assets in space as well as on the ground. Scientists and engineers in Ohio will help develop Starlab through partners including Voyager Space, Nanoracks, Airbus, Zin Technologies in Cleveland, Hilton Hotels, and other companies.

Starlab and the George Washington Carver Science Park will be anchored at Ohio State University.

Scroll to Top