Smithsonian and Cricket Media Launch the 6th Annual Spark!Lab Invent It Challenge for Kids Worldwide

This year’s Spark!Lab Invent It Challenge invites students around the world to identify a real-world environmental issue and design a creative, planet-friendly solution. Entrants are particularly encouraged to tackle issues such as water scarcity, climate change, air or water pollution, endangered species, and natural resource loss. The Challenge requires students to follow seven key steps in the invention process—identifying a problem, conducting research, sketching ideas, building a prototype, testing the product, refining it, and marketing it to potential users. This process helps to cultivate and reinforce 21st-century skills, including the use of digital technologies, and also meets several learning standards. Prizes include a patent consultation from Nelson Mullins, LEGO kits, Smithsonian books, and Cricket Media science magazine subscriptions. Individual students and entire classes (K–12) are encouraged to participate.

Deadline: March 17, 2017

Details: For complete guidelines and contest rules go to:

Discovery Education and 3M Search for America’s 2017 Top Young Scientist

The Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge offers young inventors in grades 5–8 an opportunity to be mentored by a 3M scientist, to compete for $25,000, and to earn the title of “America’s Top Young Scientist.” The contest rewards curious students who use their science acumen and creativity to solve a problem in their local, national, or global community. Entrants submit a one-to two-minute video communicating the science behind their big idea that could solve, or have a significant impact on, an everyday problem. Video entries will be evaluated on creativity, scientific knowledge, persuasiveness, and delivery. Judges will choose ten finalists to participate in an exclusive summer mentorship program, during which each student will work closely with a 3M scientist through virtual meetings and receive additional resources and support from 3M and Discovery Education. Each finalist will also receive a trip to the 3M Innovation Center at the company’s headquarters in St. Paul, MN, to compete at the final event in October 2017. “As an educator, whether or not you have a student selected as a finalist, the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge is about cultivating important skills to help students succeed in college, career and life,” says Francie Snyder, teacher at Manatee County (FL) Public Schools’ Oneco and Prine Elementary Schools.

Deadline: April 19, 2017

Details: For submission guidelines, tips from previous winners, and complete rules, go to: