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.
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Dates and deadlines

  • May 12: Challenge Announced
  • August 7: Challenge opens
  • September 11, 4:30-5:30 PM: Virtual Kick-off Event Link to Zoom event
  • September 14, 9-3 PM: In-Person Kick-off Event, PAST Foundation
  • October 9, 4:30-5:30 PM: Virtual Starlab Expertlink and Experts Link to Zoom event
  • November 15, 4:00-5:00 PM: Virtual Question and Answer Link to Zoom event
  • December 8: Student designs for the optional sticker competition due
  • December 18, 4:00-5:00 PM: Virtual Question and Answer Link to Zoom event
  • January 9, 2024: Team registration for the competition closes
  • January 12, 2024: Virtual Submission to the Hub showcase due
  • February 1, 2024: Hub winners Announced- Invitation for State Showcase sent
  • February 23, 2024: In-Person State Showcase in Columbus @ Battelle
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Guidebook for participating educators

This guidebook for the #STEMorbitsOhio Design Challenge from the Ohio STEM Learning Network was created as a resource for both teachers and students. 

Whether you are new to design challenges or have competed for years, you should find the information contained in these pages useful.

DRM 3600

OSLN Design Challenge State Showcase

Each participating school will submit a single solution, created by a 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

* Student teams will be limited to four participants. See the guidebook for more information.


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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.

Session with Starlab experts

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