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2020 Kootenay Contraption Contest Elevates Student Voices with this Year’s Education Challenge

A global pandemic has changed life as we know it and students are navigating the world of learning in unprecedented conditions. Because of our new reality, it felt natural for KAST (Kootenay Association for Science & Technology) and its youth program, GLOWS, to seek the expertise from students and educators for this year’s Kootenay Contraption Contest. From October 26-November 26, students and educators are invited to solve the real world problems they are facing at school or home school right now by using science and technology.

The theme of the 2020 Kootenay Contraption contest is Education. GLOWS challenges individual students and entire classes to come up with the most creative, imaginative “contraption” they can dream up to solve the below challenge:

Think about a challenge you’re facing at school or homeschool. Create a contraption using STEAM to overcome this problem so that students/educators of the future won’t have the same challenge.

Elementary and middle school students across the Kootenays are adjusting to COVID-19 student life in the very resilient and adaptable nature we expect from Generation Alpha.  This generation is considered to be the most technological-infused demographic to date - there is no doubt with these tech savvy kids comes innovation.

There is a powerful opportunity through STEAM (Science Technology, Engineering, Art and Math), to elevate children’s voices and give them the space to create products of their limitless imaginations.

"The very nature of a contraption is inherently STEAM,” said Blair Weston, Manager Community and Aboriginal Relations at FortisBC and the contest sponsor. “By asking youth in our region to work out a challenge they're experiencing by conceptualizing a contraption, we simultaneously introduce problem solving, critical thinking, design thinking, innovation through creativity and a work plan very similar to what STEAM professionals at FortisBC and beyond, do nearly everyday." 

It was Weston who suggested the newest element of the annual Kootenay Contraption Contest: The Educator’s Edition. 

“The role of educators has been significantly impacted by the global pandemic,” said Tanya Malcolm, GLOWS Program Manager. “Teachers and homeschooling parents are not only adapting their methods in a new and unique world of learning, they are creating innovative strategies, acquiring progressive skills and forging a new pathway for learning during these uncertain times.”

With a combination of both student and educator entries, KAST’s youth program coordinators expect the contributions to be more innovative than ever before.

To learn more or enter the 2020 Kootenay Contraption Contest, visit

Photo Caption: South Nelson School - Prize awarded to Denise Currie’s class during the 2019 Kootenay Contraption Contest. —Submitted