During last month’s annual New Jersey State Teen Arts Festival at Ocean County College, NJSBA STEAM Tank leaders invited students to compete in a miniature version of the STEAM Tank Challenge.

The STEAM Tank Challenge is a competition sponsored by the NJSBA and the U.S. Army, where hundreds of student entrepreneurs present ideas for inventions.

The NJSBA’s phenomenally successful STEAM Tank Challenge this year has received more than 550 submissions from student teams around the state — an increase of more than 37 percent over last year’s total. In all, the entries involved more than 2,000 students. Finalists will compete at the NJSBA Workshop conference in Atlantic City in October.

“The energy and talent shown by the students and teachers who take part in the STEAM Tank Challenge is very impressive,” said Dr. Lawrence S. Feinsod, executive director of the NJSBA. “I am especially pleased that STEAM Tank was a part of the teen arts festival this year because the arts spark creativity and enhance achievement in all academic areas.”

The “STEAM” in STEAM Tank stands for science, technology, engineering, the arts and math. From May 29 through May 31, the STEAM Tank Challenge was one part of an array of activities at the teen arts festival, where young artists, teachers and professional artists from around the state evaluate submissions and teach workshops and master classes in their individual specialties, including drama, filmmaking, voice, acting, instrumental music and more.

During the state teen arts festival, students who have been invited receive valuable feedback about their art in group and individual critiques, both written and verbal, and often sit in on the critiques of other emerging artists in their discipline, increasing their educational experience. Professional artists at the festival provide in-depth critical reviews and analysis of student work, performances and group presentations.

Created in 2015, STEAM Tank is one result of a partnership between the NJSBA and the U.S. Army. STEAM Tank is an open-ended design competition that challenges students to invent something new, modify an existing product, or solve a real world problem. The STEAM Tank design challenge allows students to blend creativity with problem-solving skills.  Students have the flexibility to think outside the box, design, and invent anything they can imagine. Hundreds of teams have participated in STEAM Tank to date. The NJSBA and the U.S. Army STEAM Team continue to assist schools and student teams in STEAM education, team building, workplace readiness skills and creating an integrative approach to education.