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Research Competitions for Young Students

Looking for student research competitions? Here's a huge list of awesome opportunities--happy exploring! You'll find that a lot of these have different entry levels.

1. Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge is an individual contest where students need to identify a problem that has no existing solution. Then they need to put their thinking caps on and come up with an innovation that solves the problem. Finally, they have to create a video to explain both the problem and their solution – and the science behind it.

2. Science Fairs: Society for Science Fairs allow a student to select a topic they find interesting and formulate a hypothesis to test. They use the scientific method to do their research and in the end create a presentation on what they have learned. You can find a local Science Fair here.

Each state also has its own local research fairs. For example, there are many great science fairs in New York such as Long Island Science Congress, New York Science Congress, WAC Invitational Science Fair, and more.

3. The Junior Academy Global Challenge: Each year, the New York Academy of Sciences selects an international cohort of passionate students (ages 13-17) to become part of The Junior Academy, who join a dynamic global network of like-minded peers and mentors. Students work together on Launchpad, the Academy’s unique, online platform. Launchpad enables students and STEM professionals to collaborate virtually as they compete in project-based challenges focused on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. In addition to competing in global challenges, students develop STEM and research experience while advancing vital 21st-century skills such as leadership, communication, and collaboration. The Academy presents challenges twice per year. Challenges run from September through December and again from January through May.

4. Exploravision requires students to research what technology is used today and then dream of what the future may look like. Students work in teams of 2-4 and need to really get to grips with understanding the current technology in order to be able to predict what this will look like in 20 years. Their research must be written up and 5 sample web pages created.

5. Engineer Girl invites students to write an essay on how safety, health, well-being and environmental sustainability can be improved for a technology selected by the student. This helps students understand some of the issues engineers have to consider when developing technologies.

6. Destination Imagination is a project based contest for a team of up to 7 students. The team selects an open-ended challenge from a number of different areas – three of which are Technical, Scientific and Engineering. This is a very student-driven contest – adults have to step back and let the students think outside the box, be innovative and creative and come up with a solution for the challenge. Once they have, they need to create a skit to explain it. The contest teaches the creative process.

7. eCybermission is for teams of 3-4 students from the same grade. Their first task is to select a mission from the following:

• Alternative Sources of Energy

• Environment

• Food, Health & Fitness

• Forces & Motion

• National Security & Safety

• Robotics

• Technology

The next step is to hypothesize, experiment, test, and research to find a solution. Finally, students must complete the Mission Folder and submit it online.

8. Conrad Challenge invites students between the ages of 13-18 to apply science, technology and innovation to solve problems with global impact. With the Challenge’s step-by-step guidance and the support of industry experts, students will expand their collaboration, creativity, critical thinking and communication skills.

Science research fair competition


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