KAST Youth is excited to announce the winners of this year’s Kootenay Contraption Contest, an annual initiative that challenges Kootenay youth to dream big and design a contraption that solves a relevant problem using STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) and innovation.

Throughout the month of May, Kindergarten to 8th grade students from across the region put on their thinking caps and used their creativity to solve the following challenge:

Everyone loves home grown food or veggies from the local farmers market, it just tastes better! What contraption can you imagine to help grow food locally? It can be something for local farms, a community garden or even your own backyard garden bed or balcony box!

This year KAST introduced TinkerCad 3D design software through numerous workshops in classrooms, Maker-Spaces in Nelson and Cranbrook, and the Idea Factory in Revelstoke reaching over 130 youth.

Photo: Stephen Baker (center), the Digital Fabrication Specialist and Tech Coordinator for the Revelstoke Ideafactory and Noah Rawick (left) the KAST Youth Tech Facilitator guide youth from Revelstoke on how to use TinkerCad 3D design software to bring their ideas to life.

From automated greenhouses to robot farmers and drones, our Kootenay youth proved their imaginations are limitless! Students submitted illustrations, 3D designs, and photos of prototypes they had built using various materials. To continue exploring the world of 3D design with kids in your life, we recommend checking out Solidworks Apps for Kids!

FortisBC is a long term Kootenay Contraption Contest sponsor. Community and Indigenous Relations Manager Jenn Datchkoff returned as a contraption judge; “This is my second year participating as a judge on behalf of FortisBC and I can’t wait for my third! The innovation, detail, and technical elements of these entries amazes me; the kids really put their thinking caps on. I especially like the scenario presented for this summer’s contraption contest. What a great opportunity for kids to use STEAM to create local solutions to a global concern.”

KAST Youth Coordinator Lauren Bergman said about the program; “The Kootenay Contraption Contest is an excellent opportunity for youth to prove to themselves that all problems can have creative, innovative solutions and anyone can be the creator of change. We hope to capture youths’ imagination and show them that pursuing STEAM can bring their ideas to life.” The Kootenay region has many resources available to help communities create. The Nelson Maker-Space in the Nelson District Youth Centre is a great resource where youth can learn and use 3D printers, electronics and robotics kits, and explore software design and coding. The Cranbrook YXC Makerspace provides youth and adults with access to multiple different 3D printers,3D scanners and laser cutters amongst other high-tech equipment. The Revelstoke Idea Factory similarly provides a welcoming environment that provides access to robotics kits, 3D printers and other fabricating equipment.

The Contest selects winners from categories combining two grades to reflect mixed classes in schools. Winning contraptions came from across the region in Cranbrook, Castlegar and Nelson. There was even one repeat participant from Pre-K who just can’t wait to create! This year’s winning overall contraption came from a Castlegar 5th grader who created a Planting and Maintenance Mower. View their 3D design along with all the winning contraptions at KCC 2023 – Winners Page.

KAST will continue to run the Kootenay Contraption Contest annually, and we are excited to see what Kootenay youth create next.

What should our Contest Challenge be next year? Send your ideas to youth@kast.com.

About KAST: Since 1998, KAST (Kootenay Association for Science & Technology) has led our region’s economic development through technology and innovation. We are the only non-profit tech association serving the entire Kootenay region. Our main offerings are the Venture Acceleration Program, the Nelson Innovation Centre and Youth Programming.

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