"We want to build community:" Over 170 area middle school students compete in STEM Challenge

MILWAUKEE -- When you think engineering, you might think more about being analytical, than creative. But both skills were needed  Friday, February 24th for hundreds of area middle school students competing against each other.

Noah Diedrich's team is one of fifty competing in the annual STEM Challenge hosted at Catholic Memorial High School.

"We're trying to get it to go uphill and fall into this bucket," said Noah Diedrich, 6th grade student at Waukesha Catholic Middle School.

Middle School students from all over Milwaukee and Waukesha Counties are building a marble roller coaster. The challenge: keep the marble rolling for as long as possible without touching the ground.

STEM Challenge

But this is more than a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) project. It's about creativity and teamwork

"You can't use the same idea as someone else," said Diedrich

"I want everyone to think they can do anything. We want to build community," said Mary Petrie, engineering teacher at Catholic Memorial H.S.

The students don't know their team members. They are from different schools.

"We want to make it real life, because in the workplace, you wouldn't get to pick who you are working on a project with," said Petrie.

A Catholic Memorial High School student helps guide each team.

"It might introduce them to something that they didn't know that they liked," said Kelly Aspinwall, junior at Catholic Memorial High School.

This was the 3rd annual STEM Challenge. Over 170 middle school students from 16 private and public schools participated.