10+ STEM Inspiring Contests & Challenges

The science fair has been around for decades. Yet, today the science fair has evolved to give students and adults multiple expressions of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) talent. Here, we’ve compiled more than 10 STEM challenges and contests for you and your students:

  1. The DuPont Challenge: Science Essay Competition | Deadline: January 31, 2012
    The DuPont Challenge for students in grades seven through twelve, ask contestants to submit a 700- to 1,000-word essay on a science-related topic. Top Prize: $5,000 U.S. Savings Bond, trip to Kennedy Space Center and Walt Disney World Resort, and subscriptions to Britannica
  2. Microsoft Imagine Cup | Deadline: February & March 2012
    Imagine Cup, which is hosted by Microsoft, asks students around the world to solve the world’s toughest problems with technology. Students can enter in one of four challenges using different Microsoft technologies.
  3. M3 Challenge: Moody’s Mega Math Challenge | Deadline: Feb. 24, 2012
    The M3 Challenge, organized by the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics and sponsored by The Moody’s Foundation, for high school students emphasizes practical applications of math. Students are given 14 hours to solve a realistic problem over the Web. Teams with the finest solutions are awarded a scholarship. Top Prize: $20,000
  4. Grockit Challenge | Deadline: Feb. 29, 2012
    The What Do You Know? challenge, hosted Grockit and Kaggle, seeks to develop software that can predict the probablility of whether a student will answer an online test question correctly based upon the topic of the question and its format. Top Prize: $3,000
  5. 2012 National STEM Video Game Challenge | Deadline: Mar. 12, 2012
    The National STEM Video Game Challenge, inspired by Educate to Innovate Campaign and hosted by Digital Promise, seeks to find innovative ways to inspire and motivate youth interest in STEM learning through video games. Middle schoolers, high schoolers, college students, and educators can enter in different challenge categories. Top Prize: $40,000, educational software
  6. Who Wants to Be a Mathematician | Deadline: March 28, 2012
    Who Wants to Be a Mathematician, hosted by the American Mathematical Society and held at the 2012 USA Science and Engineering Festival for East Coast high school students, will test contestants on their math skills. Top Prize: $3,000
  7. Google Science Fair 2012 | Deadline: April 1, 2012
    Google hosts a world-class science fair for students ages 13-18 on its Google platform. Students create a site for their submission on Google online and publish it to enter. Top Prize: Scientific Trip to the Galapagos Islands with National Geographic Expeditions, a Google Scholarship and more
  8. Sciberpalooza! | Deadline: May 1, 2012
    Sciberpalooza!, a virtual science fair for sixth graders hosted by Synopsys Outreach Foundation, requires contestants to create a project and speak about it in a YouTube video. Top Prize: $500
  9. ASAP
    ASAP, hosted by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and Kaggle, asks contestants to develop software that can effectively assess deeper learning found in writing through the demonstration of critical thinking and problem solving. Top Prize: $100,000
  10. Future City Competition
    Future City Competition for sixth, seventh, and eighth graders asks students design a future city using SimCity software. It’s a project-based learning model that requires contestants to build a virtual city, write a research essay, build a model, and present on it. Top Prize: $5,000, trip to U.S. Space Camp
  11. Siemens Competition
    The Siemens Competition, hosted by the Siemens Foundation and College Board, asks high school students to demonstrate their understanding of scientific study and research. Top Prize: $100,000
  12. Intel Competitions
    Intel hosts four competitions each year to inspire the scientists, engineers, and innovators of tomorrow. Top Prize: $100,000 scholarship
  13. US FIRST
    FIRST hosts a series of challenges including the Robotics Competition, Tech Challenge, LEGO League and FIRST Place.

Getting Smart Staff

The Getting Smart Staff believes in learning out loud and always being an advocate for things that we are excited about. As a result, we write a lot. Do you have a story we should cover? Email [email protected]

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Francis Rabuck

This is a High School level competition that will allow students to understand energy, sustainability and applications to a high school gym that they wil modify and apply energy simulation to study the effects. A national competition with finals in Philadelphia this year. Details for registration are on the site.


Sarah Cargill

Thanks for adding to our list, Francis!

Lisa Porter

Are there any new competitions available? I work for La Puente Valley ROP and would love to get our students involved.

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