A few weeks ago we talked about the Toy Challenge, a science competition for middle school students in grades 5 through 8. Today I’d like to talk about how you can use science competitions to develop your students’ interest in science. To start with you will need to familiarize yourself with the Department of Energy’s website.
The Department of Energy (EEREO\) is a great site to use to find legitimate science competitions for school aged kids. Some of the general energy contests include: National Science Bowl for High School and Middle School Students, Rube Goldberg Machine Contest, National Junior Solar Sprint, and the Solar Decathlon. If you are looking for energy and conservation competitions for your students then also consider these programs: American Solar Challenge, Energy Challenge, Explora Vision, Future Track and Energize Our Future Bowl.
Each of the above contests is designed for students from middle school to college. The key to using these competitions to encourage kids to get involved in science is to match the right competition with the right group of students. Also you need to understand that many of the competitions that require teams, also require a faculty mentor to guide the team to success. Because of this requirement, you will want to plan ahead for student participation and get school approval.
Fuel energy science fair projects and other science experiment kits, can be a great source of inspiration for science competition projects. Energy science units can also be used to inspire great competition science entries.