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Students To Vie for Discovery Ed and 3M 'America's Top Young Scientist' Title

Young scientists in grades 5-8 have the chance to flex their brain power in a competition that will award the winners with scholarships and other prizes and pair them up with working scientists to pursue their innovative ideas. Discovery Education and 3M are teaming up to encourage students to take an interest in science as part of the latest Young Scientist Challenge.

Last year's winner, Peyton Robertson, who was then 11 years old, took the top prize for his innovative sandbag design. Brooke Martin won second place for a device that allows pet owners to have video chats with their pets and give them treats while away from home.

The first step for entrants this year is to submit a video explaining the science behind a solution to an everyday problem. The videos must be between a minute and two minutes long and submitted by April 22, 2014. The experiments promoted in the short movies will be judged in four categories: creativity, scientific knowledge, persuasiveness and effective communication, and overall presentation. However, they won't be judged based on their production quality, which means they could be made using a cell phone camera or an ordinary digital camera.

Out of that initial submission 10 finalists will be chosen to participate in a mentorship program allowing them to work virtually with a scientist from 3M to create an innovation that will solve a problem. The finalists will also make a trip to the 3M Innovation Center in St. Paul, MN to compete at a final event. Besides being given the title of "America's Top Young Scientist," the top winner will receive $25,000.

"Participating in the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge and working alongside a 3M mentor has not only been an exciting experience, but has also taught me valuable lessons including the importance of persistence in science," said Robertson. "If it doesn't work, you don't give up. You adjust your design and try again. Most of all, if you're a student in grades 5 through 8 and have an idea you want to develop; apply. It's an incredible experience!"

Added Kellie Lauth, a judge in 2013's challenge and a principal of STEM Launch, a K-8 school in Colorado, "Problem-based or project-based learning coupled with strong industry and community partnerships encourages resiliency, stewardship, advanced learning and the courage to not only learn in this next generation model but lead it forward."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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