Pennsbury School district students were the first place winners of the elementary division of the 2018 Pennsylvania state STEM Design Challenge.

Fifth graders Daphne Klose, Patrick Longman, Daniel Romone and Nicholas Torres of Roosevelt Elementary were the winners of the statewide contest.

The four students beat-out nearly 5,000 other competition members.

According to Amy Davis, of the Allegheny Intermediate Unit, each year students grades four through eight from 24 Intermediate Units across the state join in the competition. The unique part? Students must use K’Nex building pieces.

It’s required that in two hours students must use 1,400 pieces or less to complete their projects. This year alone over 1,708,000 K’Nex pieces were used. In addition, students must also display a journal and a blueprint outlining their project.

Klose, Longman, Romone, and Torres won for their invention of the “Hydra Hand Washer 2000”, a soap dispenser that runs on hydroelectric power created by tap water.

“The competition fits perfectly in our STEM unit of renewable energy, ” Coach and gifted support teacher, Kathryn Royal, stated. “The students worked together to meet the challenge,” Royal added.

The STEM Design Challenge dates back to 2010 when the  Allegheny Intermediate Unit in Homestead, PA hosted the first contest. As popularity grew, it soon became a state wide opportunity with twenty-four other locations being formed over the years.

WBCB’s Shaun Grace contributed to this report.