Fort Smith/Fayetteville News | 5newsonline KFSM 5NEWS | Get the local news and weather where you live from 5NEWS. Covering Fort Smith, Fayetteville, Bentonville, and all of Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley.

Engineers Join Local Middle School Students For Chain Reaction Challenge

BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KFSM) — A local engineering firm donated chain reaction stem kits to a Bentonville middle school. Creekside Middle School was one of 1...
Creekside Middle School6


BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KFSM) — A local engineering firm donated chain reaction stem kits to a Bentonville middle school.

Creekside Middle School was one of 100 schools selected for the Garver Chain Reaction Challenge. Schools are encouraged to use the kits to create Rube Goldberg-style chain reaction contraptions for the challenge.

Corporate giving arm, GarverGives, gave 100 schools across Garver’s 11-state footprint Chain Reaction STEM Kits and monetary donations from the firm.

Through this interactive activity, students will gain a better understanding of STEM concepts, the engineering design process, critical thinking skills, and the importance of perseverance – all while having fun along the way.

“By teaming with these schools, we’re celebrating a century of doing business by giving back to the communities that have helped us reach this point,” said Garver Chief Executive Officer Dan Williams. “Our hope is that providing hands-on STEM education opportunities like these will help develop the core concepts necessary to cultivate the next generation of engineers.”

The kits come complete with items such as KEVA planks and Brackitz connectors to build 3-D structures, a DC motor, balls, ramps, and a slew of whimsical everyday items to create contraptions limited only by their imaginations.

“When we think of STEM, we often envision high-tech applications. But with the Chain Reaction Challenge, we’re intentionally asking students to use very low-tech items to engineer simple machines that work together,” Williams added. “The exercise teaches physics principles like kinetic energy, gravity and force, while also promoting creativity and problem-solving skills.”

Schools who share a video of their contraptions have a chance to win an additional $1,000.

“Creekside Middle School is fortunate to have strong partnerships with our business community,” said Jeff Wasem, Creekside Middle School Principal. “We are thankful Garver is willing to partner with our school to provide high impact, engaging, and relevant learning opportunities for our school community.

Northwest Arkansas schools selected for the Garver Chain Reaction Challenge include Butterfield Trail Middle School, College Hill Middle School, Creekside Middle School, Farmington Middle School, Greer Lingle Middle School, J.O. Kelly Middle School, Lincoln Middle School, Owl Creek School, Ozark Middle School, Prairie Grove Middle School, Russellville Middle School, Siloam Springs Middle School and Sonora Middle School.

Founded in 1919, Garver is an employee-owned multi-disciplined engineering, planning, architectural and environmental services firm, headquartered in North Little Rock, Arkansas.