It is hard to believe we are already starting another cycle of the Discovery Education and 3M sponsored Young Scientist Challenge but here it is. And what better way to get your students enthused than to watch last year’s finalists at NASA’s Goddard Space Center in a 2 hour special this Sunday on the Science Channel (of course!) at both 8 and 11 p.m. EST (better check your local listings for exact times).
The 2009 challenge just opened this week and closes on May 20th. To qualify 5th to 8th grade students have to submit a 1-2 minute video online from the list of this year’s scientific topics based on practical innovations in your own house. Up to 51 semifinalists, one from each state and D.C., will be chosen by the panel of judges from Faraday Studios. Then 10 of those students will be invited to New York in the fall for an all expenses paid competition to determine the top young scientist. One nominating teacher will also be chosen to come to New York to help with the competition.
You can see biographies of last year’s finalists and get a feel for their work on the YSC site . You can also see some tips on submitting an entry video from Hall Davidson and me. Hall and I will be together most of next week and will look into updating those tips for this year’s competition. Though YSC emphasizes (and both Hall and I reiterate) that entry videos are not about the glitz, telling your story and making your point in a video should be as well crafted and structured as any written essay would be. Whether you use a still camera, cellphone or camcorder, there are simple visual grammar conventions to help bring the science home.