Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge

Wow. Now that I start looking for programs that encourage children to pursue STEM careers, it seems like they are flying at me from every direction. I've already mentioned a few on our Facebook page, in case you don't follow.

This latest contest has a deadline that is quickly approaching. But I know that there a many children who can easily meet it. The Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge is a science competition for 5th - 8th grade students. Because research shows that science test scores start to drop in middle school when interest in science begins to wane, the Young Scientist Challenge focuses on this age group to encourage and reward children to develop their curiosity and hone their scientific knowledge.

Ten finalists will be selected to receive an all-expense paid trip to New York City to compete in the final challenge in October. The winner will receive $25,000, a trip from Discovery Student Adventures, a Contest Trophy, and the title of "America's Top Young Scientist."

Entrants should identify an everyday problem related to the way we move, the way we keep ourselves healthy, or the way we make a difference. The problem should directly impact them, their family, their community, or the global population. The idea must be a new innovation or solution, and cannot simply be a behavioral change or a new use for an existing product.

To enter the competition, students must create a single one- to two-minute video that:

* explains the problem and how it impacts them, their family, their community or the global population;

* describes a new innovation or solution that could solve or impact the problem;

* explains the science, technology, engineering and/or mathematics behind their innovation; and

* illustrates how their innovation could both address the everyday problem they've identified and have a broader impact locally or globally.

To get your kids started, take a look at these thought starters.
You can see the videos of previous winners here.
The videos will be evaluated by a panel of judges on the basis of creativity, persuasiveness, classroom suitability, and overall presentation. Videos will not be evaluated on production skills and may be recorded on cell phones or simple digital cameras. All video entries must be submitted online at by 5:00 p.m. EST, April 15, 2011.  Judges will review the video submissions and choose 10 finalists and up to 51 merit winners: one from each state and the District of Columbia.

The 10 finalists will be paired with 3M scientists to complete a summer assignment having to do with innovation. Together they will work virtually through pre-assigned objectives with resources and support provided by Discovery Education.

Parents and teachers, be sure to check out the page with lesson plans related to this year's topics. And on the good side, they also have a page where you can download a letter to the parents in English or Spanish. (Not quite as bilingual-family friendly as the Design Squad Nation contest, but algo es algo as my mami says.)

For more information on the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge, go to

Con mucho cariño...


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