STEM Design Challenge
Inspire your students to solve authentic and real-world STEM problems with this integrated program for Years 3-10.
The STEM Design Challenge engages Year 3-10 students through real-world scenarios at the zoo. In this unique and limited time only program, students will find solutions to complex problems using their skills, knowledge and an engineering framework called Design Thinking.
You will be given a teaching guide to help you with every step of the Challenge. You don’t need a STEM lab or special materials. Some teachers use this program to teach a whole-term unit while others use it as a special 2-3 week program – the choice is yours. Students are also welcome to enter their designs in the STEM Design Challenge competition
How the STEM Design Challenge works
UNDERSTAND the challengeChoose a challenge and book your zoo visit. Students will participate in a special education program that includes at STEM workshop and research opportunities
IDEATE possible solutionsBack at school, teams of up to six students will brainstorm their ideas and choose one to prototype
PROTOTYPE an ideaStudents will build a prototype of their idea using their STEM skills. They could use recycled materials from home, items from your art room or any technology available
TEST AND REFINE a prototypeStudents will test their prototype by sharing it with an audience, which can include their peers or an expert from outside your school
ENTER THE COMPETITIONAfter completing their prototypes, student teams of up to six people are invited to enter the STEM Design Challenge competition. They’ll submit a video of up to 2 minutes for each prototype. Each program teaching guide includes the judging criteria. Winning teams will meet with relevant zoo staff and experience a behind-the-scenes animal encounter (transport costs to and from the zoo are included).
Competition closing dates
- Term 3-4: Friday 15 November 2019
- Term 1-2: Friday 19 June 2020
- Term 3-4: Friday 20 November 2020
Term 3-4 2019 challenges
Caring for Animals – help keepers design Meerkat or Lemur enrichment
Saving Endangered Species – help scientists research and protect Tasmanian Devils or Brush-tailed Rock Wallabies
Running a Zoo – help Zoo managers keep people safe and provide a fun experience for visitors
Term 1-2 2020 challenges
Caring for Animals – help keepers design giraffe or lion enrichment
Saving Endangered Species – help scientists design new nesting boxes for the Leadbeater’s Possum and Swift Parrot
Running a Zoo – help the Zoo Shop Manager design a new product that raises money for African animals