Reach Challenge

The 2023 REACH Challenge is closed, please check back soon for information regarding the 2024 REACH Challenge!

Click Here if Interested in Joining the 2024 REACH Challenge

Team Registration Fees

  • ITEEA Members - $200 for one team, $180 for additional teams
  • Non-ITEEA Members: $375 per team

REACH Challenge is an impactful Adaptive and Assistive Technology design thinking project for middle school, high school, and college STEM programs, showcasing ITEEA’s mission that “Technology and Engineering Bring STEM to Life!” Teachers are provided a Toolkit of curriculum and resources to lead their students to create a viable adaptive or assistive technological solution to help someone in their community. Projects can then be submitted to ITEEA for an opportunity to earn awards and funding for their STEM program!


Registration for REACH Challenge includes instant access to innovative lessons on Adaptive & Assistive Technology, User-Centered Design, Empathy, Safety, Prototyping, Intellectual Property, and more as part of the Educators Toolkit. These downloadable resources include ready-made lesson plans, videos, slide presentations, worksheets, hands-on activities, discussion prompts, and inspiring explorations aligned with STEL and NGSS standards.


Q: What is REACH Challenge?

A: Through REACH Challenge, students will have an opportunity to use their STEM skills to REACH a member of their community who has a challenge to overcome. Focusing on the empathy and user-centered design portions of the engineering design process, students will work with their User-Expert to identify a specific challenge. Teams design and create a viable adaptive or assistive technological solution to this problem. Teams submit a short technical paper as well as a video describing their project to earn awards and recognition from ITEEA.


Q: How do I sign up for REACH Challenge?

A: REACH Challenge registration will begin again in Summer 2023.


Q: How much does it cost to participate in REACH Challenge and what is included?

A: Registration fee includes access to the REACH Challenge Toolkit, a valuable set of activities, lesson plans, videos, and slide presentations that are designed to teach students about User-Centered Design, Adaptive and Assistive Technology, Empathy, Prototyping, Intellectual Property, and more. Registration fees are as follows:

ITEEA Member - $200 for one team | $180 per team for multiple teams
ITEEA Non-Member - $375 per team

Q: Who can participate on a REACH Challenge team?

A: Any student from Grades 7 through 12 as well as undergraduate college students may be on a team. Each REACH Challenge Team shall consist of one TEAM LEAD (usually a teacher), one to twelve STUDENT(s), and one USER-EXPERT. Any USER-EXPERT that is a person under the age of 18, or is an animal, should be considered to be a Co-USER-EXPERT along with their primary caretaker. Teams may also have an optional TEAM MENTOR.


Q: What does each participating team need to submit for REACH Challenge?

A: Each team will submit a 3-5 page Technical Paper as well as a 3-minute Video that describes their project. A sample Technical Paper is included in the REACH Challenge Toolkit. For an example Video, click here:


Q: What are the important dates to know for REACH Challenge participants?

A: Planned dates are as follows, ITEEA Reserves the right to modify dates with notification:


The 2022 REACH Challenge is now complete, please visit this section Summer 2023 for dates on our next Challenge!


Q: Do teams have to be affiliated with a school?

A: No, teams can also be formed from community organizations, home-school groups, robotics teams, or any other group of students with an adult leader. At the collegiate level, students from all majors and backgrounds are welcome to participate.


Q: How long does it take to get through the REACH Challenge curriculum?

A: The lessons, slide decks, and activities are yours to use freely as you see fit. If a Team Lead that chooses to use ALL of the curriculum’s activities and lessons, as well as completing an adaptive technology project and submission for awards to ITEEA, REACH Challenge could be a major project lasting an entire quarter (depending on how technical of a project the team undertakes). However, a Team Lead may want to choose only a few lessons (such as just watching the videos or teaching the slides on Adaptive & Assistive Technology and User-Centered Design) and focus on a less-technical project and submission, in which case the project could be completed in a matter of a few weeks. The choice is yours, and the curriculum is flexible. Team Leads should consider the team’s technical skills to decide how difficult of a project they wish to undertake in order to be successful.


Q: Can teachers have more than one team of students?

A: Yes, a teacher can be a TEAM LEAD of multiple teams, but students can only participate on one team.


Q: Do I need to know which students will be on a team before I register for the REACH Challenge?

A: No. When you register for REACH Challenge, you do not need to know exactly which students will be on a team at that time. Registration simply gives access to the Toolkit and your ITEEA dashboard to create your team's roster whenever you are ready to do so, prior to your final submission.


Q: Who owns the Intellectual Property of the team’s invention?
A: Each team retains its intellectual property over their submission. By submitting for the REACH Challenge, teams grant ITEEA permission to publish the submission, in whole or part, in conjunction with any publication or event noting, commenting on or discussing the ITEEA REACH Challenge participants. In any such publication, credit shall be given to the team as provided on the TEAM ROSTER.


Q: What are the major roles on a REACH Challenge team?

A: Each REACH Challenge Team consists of:

One adult TEAM LEAD:

  • The TEAM LEAD is the main contact for the team and is responsible for registering their team and submitting their project/solution according to the guidelines provided.
  • Middle and High School Teams will often have a teacher or educator as their TEAM LEAD.
  • Collegiate Teams may have any educator, adviser, or student team member over the age of 21 as their TEAM LEAD. 
  • A single person may serve as the TEAM LEAD for multiple teams.

One adult TEAM MENTOR (optional):

  • Each team may also have no more than one (1) other adult TEAM MENTOR that assists with the design and creation of the team’s solution. 
  • Examples of a TEAM MENTOR include mechanical engineers, computer programmers, additional teachers, parents, etc. that help the team throughout the project.
  • Professionals that are consulted for information like physical/occupational therapists, doctors, nurses, etc. during the project are not considered a TEAM MENTOR, unless the team wishes to do so.

At least one (1) but not more than twelve (12) STUDENT(s)

  • Each STUDENT may only participate on one (1) REACH Challenge Team.


  • The USER-EXPERT is the individual for whom the product/solution is being developed. This is the User in User-Centered Design.
  • Any USER-EXPERT that is a person under the age of 18, or is an animal, should be considered to be a Co-USER-EXPERT along with their primary caretaker.
  • It is recommended that a USER-EXPERT be at least 2 years of age.

Q: How are awards and winners judged?

A: All submissions will go through two levels of evaluation. The first will determine the Finalists for the REACH Challenge based on the scoring rubric in the submission guidelines document. All Finalists will then be judged by a panel of individuals selected by ITEEA


Q. Can we make our invention public?

A: Teams are discouraged from making their AT invention public until after the winners are announced in February, as to not impact judging. Once winners are announced, we encourage teams to spread the word about what they’ve made through REACH Challenge!

2023 REACH Challenge Winners

REACH Challenge Winner:
Northern Burlington County Regional High School (New Jersey): The Flexi-Brush

REACH Challenge Finalists:
John F. Kennedy High School (New York): Portion Pal
Kalani High School (Hawaii): VTC (Voice-to-Change)

REACH Challenge Semi-Finalists:
Fontana High School (California): S.A.S. Spongebob Alert System
Fontana High School (California): The Drift Stand
J. Sterling Morton West High School (Illinois): Operation Mylia
John F. Kennedy High School (Bellmore): Click-Clack Knapsack
Olathe Northwest High School (Kansas): The Sleeve Slider

REACH Challenge Special Recognition:
Fontana High School (California): Attachable Table
Kalani High School (Hawaii): LMX Splintz
Kalani High School (Hawaii): The Grip-and-Stick
MOT Charter High School (Delaware): The Missing Piece
Palmer Trinity School (Florida): Project Platypus
Principia School (Missouri): Project Shield
Sioux City Career Academy (Iowa): Pedal Pushers

2022 REACH Challenge Winners

REACH Challenge Winner:
John F. Kennedy High School (New York): easyREACH

REACH Challenge Finalists:
Kalani High School (Hawaii): Seventeen Energy Booster Closet Rod
Skyview High School (Washington): Soccer Ball Bumper

REACH Challenge Semi-Finalists:
Northern Burlington County Regional (New Jersey): Assisted Nails
Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart (Florida): Bella Chair
John F. Kennedy High School (New York): Coin Calculator
South Fayette High School (Pennsylvania): Maytik: Blind-Friendly Makeup Palette

REACH Challenge Special Recognition:
Palmer Trinity School (Florida): Dressinator
Palmer Trinity School (Florida): Leg Helper
MOT Charter High School (Delaware): Oto-Aids
Upper St. Clair High School (Pennsylvania): Shoematic
West Iredell Middle School (North Carolina): Skywalker
Methodist University (North Carolina): Type-Tastic
Olathe Northwest High School (Kansas): Wheelchair Baby Carrier

2021 REACH Challenge Winners

REACH Challenge Winner:
Discovery High School (Washington): Power Pivot

REACH Challenge Finalists:
John F. Kennedy High School (New York): Thermal Kinetic Therapeutic Glove
MOT Charter High School (Delaware): The Able-Table

REACH Challenge Semi-Finalists:
Kalani High School (Hawaii): Safety Needle Release Grip Extension
Governor's STEM Academy at the Burton Center for Arts & Technology (Virginia): Student Teaching Enhancement Project (STEP)
South Fayette High School (Pennsylvania): SPACE: Sensory Board Kit
Governor's STEM Academy at the Burton Center for Arts & Technology (Virginia): Bathroom Assistance Agent
Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart (Florida): Freezer Helper
Governor's STEM Academy at the Burton Center for Arts & Technology (Virginia): MOVE-MVES Operative Vehicle Enhancement

REACH Challenge Special Recognition:
Upper St. Clair High School (Pennsylvania): Shoe Support
Kalani High School (Hawaii): Parkinson's Toothbrush
Northern Burlington County Regional (New Jersey): Ohio State Compression Vest
Olathe Northwest High School (Kansas): I-Stand
Hill High School (Georgia): Carry Cart
Kalani High School (Hawaii): Medical Tape Dispenser
Thomas Hunter Middle School (Virginia): Grip Enhancing Glove
Buckingham Browne & Nichols School (Massachusetts): Tactile Liquid Measurement

2020 REACH Challenge Winners

REACH Challenge Winner:
Olathe Northwest High School (Kansas): IEEAT (Independent Eating Ergonmic Assistive Tool)

REACH Challenge Second Place:
Kalani High School (Hawaii): Magnetic C-Clamp

REACH Challenge Finalists:
State College Area High School (Pennsylvania): Talker Boardp and Foldable Stairs
John F. Kennedy High School (New York) - The Peripheral Partner
Northern Burlington County High School (New Jersey) - Multi-Use Handle
Scotch Plains Fanwood High School (New Jersey) - Slanted Platform
Thomas Hunter Middle School (Virginia) - The Grabber

2019 REACH Challenge Winners

REACH Challenge Winner:
State College Area High School (State College, PA): Bat Cane

REACH Challenge Second Place:
Donna Klein Jewish Academy (Boca Raton, FL): Napkin Folder

Honorable Achievement by Division:
Middle School - Vernon Johns Middle School (Petersburg, VA): The Duster
High School - BCAT Engineering (Salem, VA): Magnetic Lite Brite
Collegiate - Berea College (Berea, KY): Hydraulic Leg Lifting Chair

Kalani High School (Honolulu, HI): The Beach Wheelchair
J. Sterling Morton West High School (Berwyn, IL): Grand Claw
Gilford High School (Gilford, NH): GoBabyGo Car Toy Holder
BCAT Engineering (Salem, VA): Officer Unicorn
Olathe Northwest High School (Olathe, KS): The Post-Stroke Hand Stretch Device
Riverview High School (Sarasota, FL): Beach Wheelchair
John F Kennedy High School (Bellmore, NY): Helping Hands
Berea College (Berea, KY): Tachycardia Heart Monitor System

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