Part 3: STEM, STEAM, Makers: Over 25 STEM and PBL Competitions

Part 3: STEM, STEAM, Makers: Over 25 STEM and PBL Competitions

Welcome to this third post in a series that brings STEM, STEAM, and Maker Space together with Project Based Learning and proper technology integration in the classroom. You will discover around one hundred resources in this series along with some great ideas for finding student success. Before reading, please take a moment to subscribe by email or RSS and also give me a follow on Twitter at mjgormans. I promise you will find some great information coming your way in the posts that follow…So sign up now and please pass this on with a retweet. – Mike Gorman (

Booking Info – It is time to think about your school or conference needs. Are you looking for a practical and affordable professional development workshop for your school or conference? I have traveled the country delivering PD relating to technology integration, PBL, STEM, Digital Literacy, and the 4 C’s. I have delivered hundreds of workshops and presentations. Check out my Booking Page. Please contact me soon if you have an interest. I am now booked through November. In fact, it might be time to begin thinking about next January! Look for contact information at the Booking Site.

Part 3: STEM, STEAM, Makers: Over 25 STEM and PBL Competitions

After the last post of over 40 STEM resources, I am sure you are ready for more engaging possibilities.resources. I do hope the past two posts have helped you build a foundation for both STEM and PBL ,and have provided some reflection. I am sure you are aware that there are some wonderful competitive opportunities to engage your students online in the STEM and PBL arena. The authenticity that a competition brings can be exciting while also providing your students with plenty of voice and choice. I decided to go through the internet and find what I feel are some of the very best and share them with you!

I often tell people you do not have to enter a competition to use the resources, although the completions are a lot of fun and can even provide some pretty cool prizes! In fact, many times a resource in a competition can be the perfect tool for a scaffolding activity. It can be used long after the competition is over. This is a perfect opportunity for some formative learning.

Remember that with the end of the school year usually wraps up the competition. This is a great time to learn about them and start putting possibilities on your calendar for next year. Also, remember many of these contain great resources that can be used anytime, not just during the competition I really hope you enjoy the list and please let me know of something I should have included. I invite the opportunity to double the list with your help!

Challenges and Competitions

  • Kids Science Challenge – Awesome and inspiring challenges involving bio-designed scientific inventions, sports on Mars, and detective science. Be sure to check out the great podcasts listed in Pulse of the Planet.
  • Young Scientists Challenge – Great resource for students in K-8. Lessons, multi-media, and other materials that can be incorporated into PBL units.
  • National Engineer Week: Future City – Great Project-Based Learning Activity incorporating STEAM along with Language Arts and Social Studies. Engage students with Sim City Software, model building, and a new curriculum designed to integrate disciplines.
  • Google Science Fair – The Google Science Fair challenges students aged 13-18 to carry out a scientific investigation on a real-world problem or issue that interests them. The competition asks them to carry the investigation forward through rigorous experimentation, recording, and conclusions.Students compete with peers in their age group from all over the world to win scholarships, internships, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
  • National STEM Video Game Challenge – Inspired by the Educate to Innovate Campaign, President Obama’s initiative to promote a renewed focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education, the National STEM Video Game Challenge is a multi-year competition whose goal is to motivate interest in STEM learning among America’s youth by tapping into students’ natural passion for playing and making video games.
  • CyberPatriots – Great PBL program based on code and cyber security from the US Air Force Association. Your students will enjoy the challenge brought about through learning to hack in a positive and productive manner.
  • Imagine Cup – A wonderful competition designed to push STEM and imagination. It is a global student technology program that provides opportunities for students across all disciplines to team up and use their creativity, passion, and knowledge of technology to create applications, games and integrate solutions that can change the way we live, work and play.
  • Dupont Challenge – A STEM program promoting “What is Your Challenge?” Best of all writing will be involved for students at both the elementary and secondary level.
    Moody’s Mega Math Challenge – Program designed to go beyond the content and allow for math connections to the real world. Some wonderful opportunities can be found for those students interested in math.
  • Who Wants To Be a Mathematician – Great opportunity to explore mathematical knowledge. Take a moment to look at the sample questions and lessons for possibilities both in and outside of competition.
  • APP Challenge – Do your students have an idea for an APP? Then look at this competition from Verizon. When you visit the site be sure to look for past winners and future possibilities.
  • Biomimicry Design Challenge – What can living organisms contribute to STEM and engineering? Check it out for unique design challenges that can fit into your curriculum while giving students an authentic experience.
  • National Science Bowl – The National Department of Energy offers this unique experience. You will find possibilities for students in both high school and middle school.
  • Explorovision – A wonderful opportunity to have students explore what a current technology might be in 20 years. Great resources and lesson plans to use anytime.
  • Lego Contests -If you have some Legos, then look at these wonderful classroom possibilities.
  • Regeneron Science Talent Search – The Science Talent Search (STS) is the nation’s most prestigious science research competition for high school seniors. Come take a look at this amazing competition that has its roots going back to 1942.
  • United States Super STEM Competition – The first annual United States Super STEM Competition(USSSC) is a new educational competitive event happening in 2017 to challenge the creative mind of all middle school, high school, and college students. The main focus for the 2017 USSSC is to provide an opportunity for students to demonstrate their innovative knowledge and skills by competing towards one goal …success!
  • World of 7 Billion – Create a short video – up to 60 seconds – about human population growth that highlights one of the following global challenges. Check the challenges that are posted each year.
  • Mega Engineering – Participants create and submit a 1- to 2-minute video focused on Mega-Engineering. Mega-engineering projects typically address important needs of large populations and/or societies.
  • Future Engineers – Check out these unique design challenges that might just put that 3D printer to some wonderful capabilities.
  • Cardboard Challenge – No high tech required, all you need is cardboard and some other valuable scraps that can be found just about anywhere. The biggest need will be lots of imagination!
  • Science With Out Borders – This amazing STEAM program was created to get students and teachers interested in ocean conservation through various forms of art. This annual contest inspires students to be creative while learning about important ocean conservation issues.
  • K12 Game-a-thon – This contest challenges students to design, build and share a game that features creative and unusual solutions to mathematical problems.
  • First Robotics – This involves teams of professional and high school students to solve engineering problems. Students get a hands-on, inside look at the engineering profession by designing, assembling and testing a robot.
  • From the Bow Seat – A unique competition using poetry, art, writing, and visual media to highlight ocean awareness.
  • First Lego Leauge – Check out the amazing possibilities and design challenges that are a part of this robotic competition.

Next in the Series…Turning STEM into STEAM with Over 20 Resources !

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Michael Gorman oversees one-to-one laptop programs and digital professional development for Southwest Allen County Schools near Fort Wayne, Indiana. He is a consultant for Discovery Education, ISTE, My Big Campus, and November Learning and is on the National Faculty for The Buck Institute for Education. His awards include district Teacher of the Year, Indiana STEM Educator of the Year and Microsoft’s 365 Global Education Hero. Read more at