STEAM Tank 2017 proved to be an exciting opportunity for students to show off their inventions, from the “Traposquito” to the “Talking Walking Stick,” the “Ecotrack” and the “Securicap.”

Sponsored and created by NJSBA and the U.S. Army, the STEAM Tank competition, which is modeled after the TV show “Shark Tank,” provides New Jersey students a platform to experience real-world problem solving, allowing them to think like entrepreneurs and design and create whatever they can dream using the fields of STEAM – science, technology, engineering, the arts and math. In STEAM Tank, students create innovative products and solutions to problems, which they enter into competition. Winners at the regional level compete in the finals at NJSBA’s annual Workshop, before a judging panel of entrepreneurs and business leaders. Applications for the 2018 competition are being accepted now, due by Feb. 9.

The first year STEAM Tank was introduced, there were 32 submissions, with 17 teams selected to present their ideas and inventions at Workshop. In 2017, there were 193 submissions, 90 teams selected to advance to the regionals, and 32 teams that made it to the finals. Board members, staff and parents were invited to watch students in action and support their school.

This year, the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) also partnered in STEAM Tank. The NJEA hosted the STEAM Tank Theater at its annual convention, where the winners of STEAM Tank were announced. In addition, students had an additional opportunity to present to the teachers who attended the convention.

The 2017 STEAM Tank winners are below:


  1. Recraft – Ocean City Intermediate – 5th grade – $2,500
    Team Leader: Maureen Baldini, Ocean City Intermediate School, Ocean City School District
  1. Music Sheets – Lafayette Elementary – 5th grade – $1,500
    Team Leader: Dana Petrie, Lafayette Elementary School, Wayne Township
  1. The Inno Tab – West Amwell Elementary  –$1,000
    Team Leader: Martha Kubik, West Amwell Township Elementary School, South Hunterdon Regional School District


  1. Traposquito – P.S. 28 – Christa McAuliffe – $2,500
    Team Leader: Joel Naatus, P.S. 28 Christa McAuliffe, Jersey City Public Schools
  1. Filter Frenzy – P.S. 28  – Christa McAuliffe – $1,500
    Team Leader: Joel Naatus, P.S. 28 Christa McAuliffe, Jersey City Public Schools
  1. Flex Ring – Howell Middle School South – $ 1,000
    Team Leader: Josh Langenberger, Howell Middle School South, Howell Township School District


  1. Ecotrack – Manasquan High School – $2,500
    Team Leader: Amy Edwards, Manasquan High School, Manasquan Public School District
  1. Securicap – Cumberland Regional High School – $1,500
    Team Leader: Ed Sayre, Cumberland Regional High School, Cumberland
  2. Tied for 3rd – Two Winners:

Talking Walking Stick – Cumberland Regional High School  – $500.00 (Tie)
Team Leader: Ed Sayre, Cumberland Regional High School, Cumberland Regional School District

Exo- Controller – Manasquan -$500.00 (Tie)
Team Leader: Amy Edwards, Manasquan High School, Manasquan Public School District

Interviews with competitors are available for viewing online. To watch, please visit the 2017 STEAM Tank Video page. 

STEAM Tank was designed to be extremely open-ended in order to maximize student creativity, and allow students to take the challenge in any direction that their team decided. The following is the STEAM Tank Challenge: Identify a real world problem or situation that needs resolution, modify an existing product to make it better, or invent something that does not exist yet.

Once a team, consisting of two to five students, submits an application and their concept is accepted, the teacher/team leader will receive access to the STEAM Tank playbook, which contains detailed information for the teams and strategies for the challenge.

There are three levels for STEAM Tank, elementary, middle and high school. Each level has a first-, second- and third-place prize. Currently, first prize is $2,500, second prize is $1,500 and third prize is $1,000.

Important dates and locations for STEAM Tank 2018:

  • STEAM Tank’s Google form is now open and accepting Applications. The application is available online.
  • The submission form will remain open until the end of  day on Feb. 9, 2018.
  • All teams that submit a concept only, describing their invention, will be notified no later than Feb. 16 if they made it through the review.  
  • Video or on-site mentoring arranged between teams and STEAM Tank team (as needed basis.)
  • South Jersey Regionals will take place March 23, 2018,  Blackwood Army Reserve Center, 390 S Woodbury-Turnersville Rd., Blackwood
  • Central Jersey Regionals will be held March 16, 2018, at Camp Evans, Wall Township.
  • North Jersey Regionals will take place April 14, 2018, at the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
  • Final Challenge at NJSBA Workshop will be Oct. 23 and 24, 2018, at the Atlantic City Convention Center.
  • Winners announced at the NJEA Convention in November 2018

Additional partners in STEAM Tank this year were NJ Audubon Eco-Schools and the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), to help support the environmental component in STEAM Tank. This partnership was developed from a grant provided by PSEG to NWF, NJ Audubon and NJSBA. PSEG also provided the prize money that went to the winning teams as well as the second and third place teams. From the PSEG support, the prize money will also be available for STEAM Tank 2018.

Although students are the stars of STEAM Tank, the judges made a significant impact as well. The judges volunteered their time and provided in-depth feedback and coaching to the students. The judges included teachers, business and industry entrepreneurs, Army engineers, university staff and non-profit organizations related to education.

For more information please contact John Henry, NJSBA STEAM and sustainable schools specialist or SFC Josh Simpson, NJSBA I-STEAM fellow or  Jennifer Siehl, STEAM Tank coordinator.