Top Stem Competitions for Young Students
Stem Competitions are a great way for young students to explore their academic interests and be inspired to solve challenging problems. It’s never too early or late to tackle scientific or engineering-related issues — there are contests for people as young as 5th grade and as late as senior year of high school. Read on to see which ones you can partake in. Includes information on qualifications, requirements, subjects, and prizes!
Grades 9+: Intel ISEF, JSHS, Google Science Fair Grades 8+: Conrad Challenge Grades 6+: Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Grades 6-8: Broadcom Masters Grades 5-8: 3M Young Scientists Challenge
Intel Science and Engineering Fair
The Intel International Science and Engineering Awards (Intel ISEF), known as the "World Cup" of the Global Youth Science Competition, is the world's largest, highest-level science competition for high school students. It provides the world's best young scientists and inventors with a platform to communicate and showcase their latest technological achievements. Each year, more than 1,500 young scientists from more than 50 countries compete for scholarships and prizes.
Entry requirements: Students (grades 9-12) in all relevant science competitions worldwide, covering the United States and 70 other countries, can participate individually or in teams.
Awards: The Intel ISEF Awards are divided into awards (also known as subject awards), special awards and government awards, with more than 600 individual and group awards.
The subject awards are divided into one, two, three, and four grades, with prizes of $3,000, 1,500, $1,000, and $500, respectively. In addition, there are more than $1.5 million in scholarships, summer internship studies, field science research opportunities, and experimental equipment provided by Intel Corporation, Science Services, and nearly 70 sponsoring companies, scientific societies, and governments.
Junior Science and Humanities Symposium
Don’t let the word “humanities” fool you. This competition is heavily designed to challenge and engage students (Grades 9-12) in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM). Individual students compete for scholarships and recognition by presenting the results of their original research efforts before a panel of judges and an audience of their peers. Opportunities for hands-on workshops, panel discussions, career exploration, research lab visits and networking are planned. Includes a statewide, regional, national, and international symposia.
Regional Finalists’ Awards A total of $4,500 in undergraduate tuition scholarships is disbursed between 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place by region.
National Finalists’ Awards: Undergraduate tuition scholarships of $12,000, $8000, and $4000 are presented to the top three finalists respectively in the National Symposium research paper oral competition in each of the subject categories. In addition to scholarships, the Departments of the Army, Navy and Air Force invite the top five finalists from each Regional Symposium to the National JSHS Symposium to present their original research; expenses paid.
Google Science Fair
Google Science Fair is a competition sponsored by Google to encourage young people aged 13-18 to innovate in technology and engineering. Unlike Intel ISEF, which requires contestants to be regional technology contest winners, the Google Science Fair has fewer restrictions on contestants and a clearer, simpler process. Winners of projects such as the Google Science Fair and Intel ISEF are usually sought after by top colleges.
Submissions open early September and close early December.
- Inspiring entries/ideas
- Capacity to influence
- A passion for science/engineering
- Methodological excellence
- Project presentation
Selection process: The selection team will review all submitted projects according to the evaluation criteria, and select the projects with higher scores to select 100 regional finalists. Next, the jury selected 20 global finalists from all over the world to travel to Mountain View, California where the category winners and Grand Prize winner will be announced.
Samsung Solve for Tomorrow
Introduction: The competition challenges students in grades 6-12 to use STEM to help improve the local community.
Entry Requirements: 6th- 12th grade students.
Competition Information: Initial stage: teachers submit applications in the first round, and then 250 state finalists are selected to submit their activity plans. Round 2: 50 state winners submit project videos. Each winner’s school receives a prize of $20,000. The third round: 10 national finalists participate in a social media “Community Choice” video voting contest.
The finalists’ schools each receive a $50,000 bonus package and trip to the Pitch Event in NYC. Finals: 10 national finalists give a presentation to the judging panel. The last three national winners will each receive a $100,000 prize.
Broadcom MASTERS is the nation's premiere science competition for middle school students in the United States.
Entry Requirements: Science & engineering fairs nominate of the top 10% of 6th grade, 7th grade and 8th grade students, granting them entry into this national competition. The nominees must complete an online application to have the opportunity to participate in this competition.
Competition information: Being nominated is a huge honor because it demonstrates that the project is considered the top 10% of the US Middle School Science Fair program. The top awards include: the coveted $25,000 Samueli Foundation Prize, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Award for Health Advancement, the Marconi/Samueli Award for Innovation: $10,000; the Lemelson Award for Invention, $7,500.
3M Young Scientist Challenge
The annual 3M Young Scientist Challenge invites students in grades 5 through 8 to submit a 1-2 minute video on a solution that solves an everyday problem. Students compete for a chance to win $25,000 and an exclusive 3M Mentorship. The competition will select ten finalists based on their passion for science, innovation and originality, and effective communication skills.
Entry requirements: All 5th to 8th grade students enrolled in the US
Competition Information: Judging: All eligible entries will be judged by the sponsor-designated judges in accordance with the judging criteria. 10 finalists will be selected and announced in late June.
Public voting period: In October, the global public will have the opportunity to vote for which finalist receives the People’s Choice Prize.
Intel ISEF 2018 Winner
Oliver Nicholls, 19, of Sydney, Australia was awarded first place for designing and building a prototype of an autonomous robotic window cleaner for commercial buildings at this year’s Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, a program of Society for Science & the Public and the world’s largest international pre-college science competition. The competition featured nearly 1,800 young scientists selected from 420 affiliate fairs in 81 countries, regions, and territories.
In essence, a flying drone-like device is tethered to the roof of a building and equipped with a powerful spray nozzle and rotating scrubbers. The $2,300 device can withstand 28 mph winds and could replace traditional methods that can exceed $11,000 per cleaning and reduce injuries in this high-risk occupation. Nicholls received the Gordon E. Moore Award of $75,000, named in honor of the Intel co-founder and fellow scientist.
The innovation was built based on Arduino.
3M Young Scientist Challenge Winner
On Tuesday, October 17th Gitanjali Rao became America’s Top Young Scientist by winning the 2017 3M Young Scientist Challenge. Gitanjali is working to develop Tethys, a sensor-based device that can detect lead in water faster than other current techniques.
Rather than using expensive equipment for testing, Gitanjali’s cost-effective approach to water safety uses a mobile app that populates the water’s status almost immediately. Tethys is designed to be portable and easy to use, allowing individuals to test water safety whenever needed. She hopes to solve the water contamination crisis and decrease long-term health effects from lead exposure.
A seventh-grader at STEM School and Academy, Gitanjali competed alongside nine other finalists during a live competition at the 3M Innovation Center in St. Paul, Minn. She was awarded the title of “America’s Top Young Scientist” as well as a $25,000 prize.
This innovation is also built based on Arduio.