Spring 2016 STEM Contests

Photo Credit: "Science Fair, 09" courtesy of Rich Bowen. Licensed under CC by 2.0, via Flickr.

Have you come up with a great science fair project or an idea relating to STEM (science, technology, engineering, or math) you'd like to explore further? Here are five STEM-based competitions open to K-12 students with deadlines this spring:

  • Google Science Fair: A free, worldwide online science and engineering competition open to individuals and teams from ages 13 to 18. Some of the previous winners have focused on studying new anti-flu medicines, the impact of bacteria on cereal crops, and finding a fast, non-refrigerated test for Ebola diagnosis. The site includes a "Make Better Generator," which offers suggestions for how to combine your passion, an area of science or engineering you enjoy, and a problem that needs solving that you're interested in working on. The deadline for submission is May 18.
  • Star Trek™ Replicator Challenge: Open to students in Kindergarten through grade 12, this competition asks individuals to design a non-edible, food-related product astronauts can 3D print in the year 2050. The challenge, hosted by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and NASA, includes creating a 3D model of the product. The deadline for submssion is May 1.
  • Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge: This competition, open to students in grades 5–8, invites participants to create a 1–2-minute video explaining a new innovation or solution to a real-world problem. Past winners have focused on topics such as providing a stable power source and fresh water to developing countries by using energy from ocean currents, using waste materials and pollution to generate electricity, and detecting concussions among student athletes through a helmet-mounted device. The deadline for submission is April 20.
  • Science without Borders Challenge: This competition invites students in middle and high school, aged 11–19, to create a piece of artwork in paint, pencil, marker, crayon, ink, or chalk. This year's theme is "Fishing under the Radar," raising awareness about the dangers of overfishing, and asks artists to focus on illegal, unreported, and unregulated practices. The challenge is sponsored by the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation and is funded by a prince of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The deadline for submission is April 25.
  • Engineering for You Video Contest: Entrants are asked to submit a 1–2-minute video focused on mega-engineering, a field that addresses needs of large populations, requires teams to work across countries and cultures on a solution, and involves at least three disciplines, including engineering. (Examples include human travel to Mars and the creation of the Large Hadron Collider.) The international competition, sponsored by the National Academy of Engineering, is open to individuals or teams of students in grades K–12, as well as students in post-secondary education and members of the general public. The deadline for submission is May 31.
If you submit an entry to any of these competitions, let us know! You can watch the animated short, Prepare for the Science Fair, or visit Science Buddies to help you get ready. And if you know of other science competitions open to K–12 students with a deadline this spring, please share it in the comments.


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