Cincinnati STEAM Sukkah City

It is with great excitement that the Cincinnati Jewish Teen Collective, inspired by a display of festival sukkahs in New York in 2010 and Toronto in 2011, launches the city-wide Cincinnati High School STEAM Sukkah City competition for Fall 2020.

The Cincinnati STEAM Sukkah City is a High School design competition aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards and the Ohio State Standards. All local schools are encouraged to participate. 

In this competition, students explore design thinking challenges and STEAM activities related to shelter. Students will develop creative confidence where all ideas have value using a “venture forward” mindset of taking risks and persevering to produce the best possible solution through real experience.


The Need to Knows


The competition is open to all schools in the greater Cincinnati area North the Ohio River (if you’re unsure of your eligibility please contact Designs can be developed individually or by teams but there may only be one entry per school. Individual and organizational mentors of various backgrounds are available to provide support.

The Challenge

A sukkah is a temporary structure constructed during Sukkot. While building a Sukkah is a Jewish practice with biblical roots, this design competition is about creating space and represents an opportunity for all to reimagine an ancient ritual, and to explore how contemporary variations of the type can sponsor lively activity.

The Prize

Three prizes will be awarded to the winning schools to be used toward further STEAM projects.:

  • Best in Show – $1,000
  • Runner up – $500
  • People’s Choice Award – $360

Winners will be announced during the feature event to be held on Sunday, October 4th.

Display Requirement

Each Sukkah must be built at the participating school, follow the competition guidelines and there may only be one entry per school. The Sukkah must be completed by September 20th and remain on display until October 9th. The winner will be selected by a panel of expert judges.


Participating schools are eligible for a $100 stipend to assist in their creation of their Sukkah.

Built to Learn

Aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), high schoolers across the Cincinnati area will use teamwork, problem-solving skills, and lots of creativity, imagination and fun to build shelters (sukkahs) from a variety of materials. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of building sukkahs, students will seamlessly integrate science with literacy, art, social studies, mathematics, engineering, and technology. 

Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) 

NGSS K-2-ETS1-1 Ask questions, make observations, and gather information about a situation people want to change to define a simple problem that can be solved through the development of a new or improved object or tool. 

NGSS K-2-ETS1-2 Develop a simple sketch, drawing, or physical model to illustrate how the shape of an object helps it function as needed to solve a given problem. 

NGSS K-2-ETS1-3 Analyze data from tests of two objects designed to solve the same problem to compare the strengths and weaknesses of how each performs. 

NGSS 3-5-ETS1-1 Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost. 

NGSS 3-5-ETS1-2 Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem. 

NGSS 3-5-ETS1-3 Plan and carry out fair tests in which variables are controlled and failure points are considered to identify aspects of a model or prototype that can be improved.

MS-ETS1-1 Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions.  

MS-ETS1-2 Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.  

MS-ETS1-3 Analyze data from tests to determine similarities and differences among several design solutions to identify the best characteristics of each that can be combined into a new solution to better meet the criteria for success.  

MS-ETS1-4 Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved.

Since ancient times, designing spaces and shelters has been a vital part of human existence and survival. For thousands of years, Jews worldwide, their families and guests have celebrated this history by building, eating and (sometimes) sleeping in outdoor shelters called Sukkahs during the holiday of Sukkot. Students are encouraged to implement modern STEAM to re-envision this ancient practice.