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Byline: Megan DiPaolo, Discovery Education

5th-8th Graders: The Competition Is On!


2013 Winner, Peyton Robertson

2013 Winner, Peyton Robertson

Are you a problem-solver? Great! Then you have what it takes for our 2014 Young Scientist Challenge.

Here are the basics: Everyday life is full of everyday issues, and we are looking for innovative solutions from students in grades 5–8. From helmets that detect concussions to using solar energy for water purification, past contenders have dreamed up answers and ideas that change the way we live.


YSC Media Frenzy


So what sets the Young Scientist Challenge apart? It has the power to change lives – including your own. Ten national Young Scientist Challenge finalists earn exclusive summer mentorships with 3M scientists, where they work together on special assignments and explore careers in science. They also get the chance to turn their ideas into inventions that will help others. And, one hard-working student will even win $25,000 and a once-in-a-lifetime trip with Discovery Student Adventures.

Have we piqued your curiosity? Get started with Step 1, below.

Steps to Enter:

1. Take a look at this year’s challenge topics and start innovating.

2. Read tips and tricks for making a great video competition entry. You can use a digital camera, smart phone, or other recording device.

3. Record your 1-2 minute video! (You’re on your own here, no links!)

4. Fill out the Young Scientist Challenge entry form and submit!

Turn in your entry soon: the first 50 video competition entries will receive a Young Scientist Challenge prize pack.

  1. Tatyana (ty) (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

    SWEET!!! ive all ways wanted to get my ideas out there, just didnt know how.

    • Jeanette (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

      Hi Ty! Glad to give you a way to get your ideas heard. Hope you enter into this competition!

    • will (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

      I think that he really got his thoughts to the world tell what he’s good at and they got it

    • will (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

      go get them

    • jassolis (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

      me to and now we have a great opportunity! ^.^

    • brennna (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

      i bet you will do great:)

  2. Rathana (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

    This is really cool

  3. Camila (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

    I think it’s wonderful and some day those things can actually happen!

  4. Haley (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

    Dear Jeanette,
    What I think About The Passage Is That This Is Very Great For KIds to Learn Or DO Cause,Its Very Educating And It’s Good To Do Something Like This.Also I Think That A lot Of Kids Would Love To Do This!

  5. TYRIK (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014


    • Jeanette (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

      Hi Tyrik! The $25,000 is the grand prize for the student who makes it to the semi-finals, gets paired with a scientist to develop his or her idea, and then wins the final competition in which all the finalists present their ideas to a panel of judges. You should go for it! Jeanette

  6. Bryanna (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

    Dear Jeanette,
    What I think about this story its okay because its cool that they have challenges and change lives including their own and stuff. But its very educatiing for kins and stuff so keep going.

  7. christopher (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

    that is cool

    • Isyss (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

      I think this is cool. It doesn’t get my mind to it.

  8. amber (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

    aint that right

  9. aarin (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

    Dear Jeanette
    I think that’s a wonderful idea. I think children well be I inspired if they read this article. BECAUSE they can come up with maybe amazing ideas and winsome money that can help them with some they need and also help us.

  10. LAMAURICE (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014


  11. KALIAH (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014


    • Jeanette (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

      Hi Kaliah! I bet you reach your goal (priority), because you’re so determined. Thanks for the nice comment on the website. Jeanette

      • Violet (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

        Goals are a priority no matter what it is and if you never give up you will accomplish your goal.

  12. Tyler (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

    That’s very coooooooool!!!!!!!!!

  13. ashton (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

    hi everybody

  14. ashton (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

    where are they have this at????

    • Jeanette (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

      Hi Ashton. The original entries come in online — so you submit a video via the online system. I’m not sure if they’ve announced where the finals will take place. Hope you enter!

  15. Renee (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

    My head is full of ideas. I think I got another

  16. Tykeria (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

    good job ppl i hope ome of yuu win

  17. alanda (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

    ha u are doing really good

    • Maya (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

      I know right! haha

  18. alanda (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

    thanks for posting this it is really interesting

  19. Abbye (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

    Cool! This looks sooo much fun! I want to do this sooo bad!

  20. Josiah (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

    I read the post, and now I’m wondering, “from helmets that detect concussions to using solar energy for water purification?” Are these people mad?! You think mere children can do that? That’s crazy! You think a child can build a helmets that detect concussions? Even if they’re in grades 5-8, they can’t do it! Then again, I’m wondering why I’m posting anything; I’m in 4th grade. Oh yeah, that’s what I was here for! Can you change it so that children from grade 4-8 can do this? This looks cool, and I would want $25,000 for things like an IPAD, IPOD, all that junk. Also, I would want to save up for college, and for a car in ten years. Do you think that you can talk to the people who are hosting this event, Jeanette?

    • Jeanette (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

      Hi Josiah. First of all, you are a great writer! I’m sorry that the contest is only open to 5th – 8th graders; I don’t think it will change anytime soon. But, you can definitely read all the materials and start brainstorming for next year! Some small details may change, but hopefully the contest will still happen when you’re in 5th grade, and you can enter then. (And, while you’re right that no one could get these amazing things done by himself or herself — children or adults — each student gets paired with a scientist who helps the student realize his or her vision. The ideas are all the students’ original ideas, though!) Look forward to seeing your entry in 2015!

      • Josiah (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

        Thanks! Being paired up with a real scientist makes much more sense. I’ve kind of already started brainstorming ideas, just in case you said yes to my request. I am kind of sad about it not being able to lower the grade , but if I wait, I can probably get more great ideas in a year.

        • Jeanette (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

          You bet! I look forward to reading more of your comments on this blog.

  21. Ismail (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

    i really want to join to get my idea out but i am not that much of a science wiz. is it an any one can join type of thing or not cause i would really like to know

    • Jeanette (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

      Hi Ismail! Anyone in grades 5-8 can enter this contest. Entries are judged on creativity, science knowledge, communication, and presentation skills… but don’t let that list stop you from entering! There are tips on the website for creating a winning entry — your main job is to come up with a creative and innovative idea that will help people. If you move on from the first round, you’ll get paired with a scientist who will help you develop the idea. Try it! Just thinking of ideas is the fun part, in my opinion. Besides, it will be good preparation for high school thinking. Good luck!

  22. Ismail (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

    this is the last year i can do this so i hope there are no intelligence restriction cause i am not the best in science

    • Jeanette (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

      Hi again, Ismail. There are no intelligence restrictions. Winning and completing the project will be hard, no doubt, but you should go for it, if you have a great idea!

      • Violet (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

        I think that when you accomplish something it will be something to be remembered by not just what you are best at. You don’t need to brag about what you do it is how you do it. I just finished a science test and got a 100% on it. when in school you need to pay attention in class and never give up an your dream

    • Ismail (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

      thx Jeanette

  23. Josiah (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

    The money reminds me of the spelling bee. I’ve won in my class, grade, school, city, county, district, and now state. So I’m off to Washington D.C! I hope I win!

    • Jeanette (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

      Josiah, that’s a huge accomplishment and so cool and fun. We will all be rooting for you in May! Have a great time.

    • Violet (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

      It is not about the money it about what you care about

      • Josiah (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

        For me, I just want the $40,000!

  24. Braxton (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

    This sound like it would be a lot of fun

  25. Victoria (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

    i like this artical but how can we change the world by one product i been through a lot from breaking my hip to having to live with sadness from the people who die in my family i have courage
    i believe i try i work but here is the thing . how can i enter how will i do it how much time do we have.i need that money to help my family so i can get my surgery how can i create a device and like feel confident about it….i would love that but i feel like i am not good enough. : (

    • Jeanette (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

      Hi Victoria. I am sorry to hear about your struggles. Maybe something you have had to deal with will inspire an idea for change — making things easier for yourself and others. You can enter the challenge through the site linked in the article above. On that site, you’ll find instructions, tips, even dates and deadlines that will answer your question about how much time you have. Lots and lots of people enter and only a few make it to finals… and only one wins… but I believe that everyone that participates moves towards learning more about themselves and ways in which they can help other people and the world. It’s never wasted time if you are learning and growing! Good luck!

  26. Colton (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

    that is really cool

  27. Nate (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

    Cool! I love science!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I wanna change the world but I have so much work!

  28. Sandra (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

    I just had this great idea! dears can hear higher freqency’s than us, right? well maybe if we had this thing… like an intena… (the sticks that are on the top of your car) that sends out high frequences so dear stay out of the road. like dog wistles. i have not put so much thought into it, so it might not work or might not be safe or any kind of reason. but if it does, SAVE THE DEAR!

    • Jeanette (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

      Hi Sandra. I love this idea. There are a lot of roaming deer near Discovery’s headquarters and cars run into them often. Both drivers and the deer would benefit from a system like this. Interesting….

      • austin (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

        I wish I could win the spelling bee like that.

  29. haley (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

    hey Jeanette is there still time for entry’s and would doing a gas bag for a car be a good idea like the fitters the gas and air and only air comes out

    • Jeanette (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

      Hi Haley. There is still time. The contest deadline is April 22nd. I think your idea is a good one, but of course, I’m not a judge. I would definitely recommend going to the site linked about and reading about tips and maybe even looking at some past winners’ ideas to get a sense of it. In the end, though, you should run with an idea that you are really excited about.

  30. Tanner (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

    I might want to join.

  31. austin (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

    it is so cold in charelston

  32. Sarah (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

    I think this is a great idea, Jeanette! When is it due? I am just asking but I am a 4th grader and I have a friend that will need it.

    • Jeanette (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

      Hi Sarah. So glad you like the idea… hope you’ll think about entering next year. The video entries are due by April 22nd. Good luck to your friend!

  33. Sarah (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

    Oh! I also would like to know how many kids are in Discover?

    • Jeanette (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

      Tricky question, Sarah, but a good one. There are hundreds of thousands of kids who are in schools or districts that have Discovery Education, and they all have access to a student account. It is impossible to tell, though, how many of those students are actually logged in to Discovery Education at any particular time.

  34. Jeanette (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

    Dear Jeanette,

    I think this is a good idea. It allows students to become “scientists” before they become adults. I also think it is cool that we still have the same name!


  35. Josiah (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014


  36. Maya (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

    Thats inspiring:)

  37. Rosie (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

    So we don’t have to make something? We just have to make an invention in our head and say what it will look like and how it would work. Or do we actually have to inven, and make it?

    • Jeanette (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

      Hi Rosie! For the initial video competition, you just have to have and explain the idea. You’ll want to check the tips on the site listed in the post and really do some research around your topic, so you can present your innovation well in the video. Then, if you are selected as a finalist from the video competition, you get paired with a scientist to actually develop your invention. Great luck to you!

  38. Aidan (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

    sounds so cool! i just need some SERIOUS brainstorming to come up with an idea!

  39. michell (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

    WOW !!! i think that is so cool he must be smart…

  40. John (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

    This boy could change the world with his knowledge


  41. Jeanette (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

    I wonder who won? Also, the CAPTCHA codes are somewhat hard. XD.

  42. skyla (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

    i this is so school cool , they put two Kids as SCIENCE test so fun

  43. crystal (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

    so true have so many ideas time to show the world

  44. ashton (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

    thanks Jeanette but one question, do you own this site??

    • Jeanette (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

      Hi Ashton! I don’t own this site — Discovery Education does. I just work on the content. Thanks for the question.

  45. ashton (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

    oh ok but I think there a glitch on this site, its like when you type it will have the same date, it shows Friday 10, 2014 oh and do you know the school called Rosa Parks Elementry because i go to that school and im in 4th grade. By the way are you a teacher

  46. crystal (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

    whoever opposes this isnt very optomistic :(

  47. crystal (Reply) on Friday 10, 2014

    by the way who won and what did they do