Middle Schools Invited to Enter 'Let It Grow' Earth Science Contest

Middle schools across the county are invited to enter the 2016-17 “Let It Grow” earth science contest, which will award six schools agricultural grants ranging from $1,000 to $5,000.

The sponsors of the contest are the Nutrients for Life Foundation, an educational nonprofit that teaches students and the public about the role soil nutrients play in feeding our world, and Discovery Education, which produces standards-based digital content and professional development for K–12.

The “Let It Grow Contest” is geared toward grades 6 through 8. It is open to educators and parents nationwide. Entrants should visit the contest website and unlock the contest application by answering five soil-related questions. They can also vote daily for a school of their choice.

One grand prize-winning school will receive a $5,000 agricultural grant and an introduction to a local agronomist. Five runners-up will each win a $1,000 agricultural grant. Runner-up schools will then submit a video explaining how they plan to utilize their grant prize, and a panel of judges will select one to receive a celebratory in-school winner assembly. The contest closes March 14, 2017.

This contest, in its second year, is part of the multi-year engagement program, “From the Ground Up: The Science of Soil,” which offers middle school students, educators and families nationwide a comprehensive suite of standards-aligned digital resources designed to deepen students’ understanding of the importance of soil science and nutrients in today’s agricultural practices.

The program includes interactive lesson plans, digital explorations, bilingual family activities and agricultural career profiles. The materials intend to provide students with an understanding of the connections between soil and the food they eat, as well as the role that science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) play in modern agricultural practices.

“Hands-on learning is critical to students’ understanding of key concepts, and soil science certainly has many real world applications,” said Nutrients for Life Foundation Executive Director Harriet Wegmeyer in a prepared statement. “These grants will enable classrooms to take their practical knowledge of plant nutrition needs to the next level.”

To learn more about the program and contest, or to access the free resources, visit

About the Author

Richard Chang is associate editor of THE Journal. He can be reached at [email protected].