Funding, Grants & Awards

Ultimate Middle School Science Competition Opens for the New Year

The Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge has opened for this year's entries. The competition invites students in grades 5-8 to come up with a new innovation or solution to an ordinary problem and explain their idea in a short video. The winner will receive $25,000 and the title of "America's Top Young Scientist." Ten finalists have the opportunity to be mentored by a 3M scientist and receive a trip to the company's world headquarters in St. Paul.

Last year's winner, Sahil Doshi, now a freshman at Upper Sinclair High School in Pittsburgh, came up with a device to convert carbon dioxide into electricity to help people lacking power to generate it. Other ideas from finalists included a rescue robot that moves through disaster areas like an earthworm, a new approach for cooling computers that reduces energy consumption and the use of fans in wheel wells to minimize the likelihood of vehicle hydroplaning during intense rains.

Videos, in which the student explains his or her idea and the scientific principles behind it, run between one and two minutes and are due by April 21, 2015. The judges score and rank the video entries based on four criteria: creativity, scientific knowledge, communication and overall presentation. The 10 highest scorers become the finalists. They'll attend the final event in October, which includes tours of 3M's labs.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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