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Students building contraptions

SciYinz Squad Competitions

For Grades 6–12

Dream it, design it, build it, make it better!
Yearly impromptu student competitions for small cohorts and classrooms.

SciYinz Squad Competitions are fun, impromptu challenges that encourage teamwork and creativity, all while addressing basic scientific principles and concepts that are regularly encountered across a wide array of STEM fields!

Who can participate in SciYinz Squad?

Students in grades 6–12 are invited to participate in SciYinz Squad Competitions.

What is the cost?

The registration fee to participate in each SciYinz Squad Competition is $100 per school and checks should be made payable to “Carnegie Institute.” Payment should be remitted no later than two-weeks prior to the competition date and addressed to:

Mrs. Christie Orlosky, STEM Competitions Coordinator
Carnegie Science Center
1 Allegheny Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15212

SciYinz Squad registration fees will be waived for schools that are >35% Free and Reduced Lunch. Free and Reduced Lunch status should be denoted on official school and/or district letterhead and submitted to

Why participate in SciYinz Squad?

Unlike traditional science competitions that require advanced preparation and time spent working on projects outside of the classroom, SciYinz Squad provides a simplified competition experience that allows teachers and students to focus on the science behind these learning opportunities as well as teambuilding.

All necessary program supplies, equipment, prompts, instructions, and support will be provided by Carnegie Science Center STEM Educators during each SciYinz Squad Competition. So, you and your students can focus on what is most important, having fun! And did we mention that there are prizes?

SciYinz Squad competitions are also an excellent way to incorporate Pennsylvania’s newly adopted Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The three dimensions of learning are innately distributed within each competition. The NGSS provide students the encouragement to question, investigate, and draw their own inferences based on evidence. Through the NGSS, we are preparing future generations to be independent, responsible, and proactive thinkers before they experience life beyond the classroom.

When can students participate in SciYinz Squad?

SciYinz Squads will come together throughout the school year to engage in impromptu student competitions. The following SciYinz Squad competitions will take place on-site at Carnegie Science Center this academic year:

SciYinz Squad: Chain Reaction (Dec. 8 for Grades 6–8 and Dec. 9 for Grades 9–12)
SciYinz Squad: Unified Hackathon (Jan. 28, 2023 for Grades 9–12)

Upcoming SciYinz Squad Competitions:

SciYinz Squad: Chain Reaction (SOLD OUT!)

Thurs., Dec. 8 (Grades 6–8)
Fri., Dec. 9 (Grades 9–12)
8 am–3 pm

Our newly reimagined Chain Reaction contest will allow students in middle and high school the opportunity to design, build, test, and showcase contraptions without the burden of advanced prep work. Students will be organized into teams of 4-6 and will attend a brief orientation that will address the competition rules, guidelines, and contraption task the morning of the contest. Following orientation, students will move to the FedEx STEM Learning Labs to design and build their contraptions. Each classroom will be stocked with various recycled materials available for students to “purchase,” utilizing Carnegie Cash, that they will construct their contraption out of. Students will have the morning to build a working contraption that completes a predetermined task and the afternoon to run their contraptions and compete for various student choice awards. The goal of this program is to provide students with the opportunity to explore simple machines and devices in greater depth, all while promoting teamwork, collaboration, and creativity.

How to participate:
Registration is closed for SciYinz Squad: Chain Reaction (for Grades 6–12).

SciYinz Squad: Unified Hackathon

Sat., Jan. 28, 2023 (Grades 9–12)
8 am–3:30 pm

A hackathon is a design event where programmers and hardware developers collaborate to complete a specific project within a designated period of time. Traditionally, hackathons have been targeted towards talented high school and university students. The Unified Hackathon is unique in that it creates a more inclusive (unified) opportunity for students of all abilities to work together and experience the benefits of a hackathon. Students with and without intellectual and development delays are invited to participate in a one-day hackathon event hosted by Carnegie Science Center’s STEM Events & Competitions Team. The event is open to schools, homeschools, as well as any student in Grades 9–12 who wishes to participate. The goal of this program is to afford students of all abilities the opportunity to develop STEM skills in a collaborative and inclusive environment.

How to participate:
To register a student to participate in the Unified Hackathon (9-12 Grades), please complete the following form opens in a new window no later than Friday, January 13, 2023:

Check back regularly for updates and new competitions! Questions? Email

This program is a part of the Center for STEM Education and Career Development. Learn more about our partners.