NSTA Awards

It’s that time of year again! NSTA and its sponsors are kicking off another exciting year of rewarding and recognizing high-performing science educators and students through our large-scale, nationally known competitions and grant programs.

Although we reach a large number of individuals involved in the science education community, there are still many science educators out there who don’t know about these programs. Help spread the word and include the news about these amazing opportunities for teachers and students on your Website and/or in your member newsletters and communications. Check out the following opportunities listed below.

America’s Home Energy Education Challenge

America’s Home Energy Education Challenge (AHEEC) is a new nationwide student competition to help families save money by saving energy at home. AHEEC engages students in elementary and middle schools to make smarter energy choices that reduce U.S. reliance on fossil fuels and put money back in their parents’ pockets. This initiative aims to educate America’s youth about the benefits of energy efficiency, motivate students to play a more active role in how their families use energy, and help families across the country reduce their energy bills. Participating schools compete for more than $200,000 in prizes distributed at the regional and national levels of the competition. Official registration for the Challenge ends October 7, 2011. Students, teachers, and principals are encouraged to register to participate at http://homeenergychallenge.org/. Participation in AHEEC is broken into two parts, the Home Energy Challenge and the Energy Fitness Award. Each is designed to encourage students to learn about science and home energy savings. Visit the website for more details and updates.

Disney’s Planet Challenge

Disney’s Planet Challenge is a project-based environmental competition for elementary and middle school (grades 3-8) classrooms developed in collaboration with NSTA and the WestEd K-12 Alliance. Classrooms are empowered to make a difference in their homes, schools, or communities and compete for a trip to Disneyland, classroom grants, Disney DVDs, student eco-friendly prize packs and more. Disney’s Planet Challenge also provides matching grants through Donors Choose for classrooms participating in this program. Disney’s Planet Challenge is a great way to get students involved with their environment in a fun and creative way. Visit the competition website to register now. Registration closes December 23.

The DuPont Challenge© Science Essay Competition

The DuPont Challenge Science Essay Competition is a student competition that invites seventh through 12th grade students to write a 700 to 1,000-word essay about a scientific discovery, theory, event or technological application that has captured their interest. Developed in collaboration with The Walt Disney World Resort, NASA and NSTA, the competition offers young students the opportunity to explore science, develop new skills and gain confidence in communicating scientific ideas. Created to honor the Challenger astronauts, students can win savings bonds up to $5,000, and a trip to Walt Disney World and to the Kennedy Space Center. Teachers win too! Along with the trips with their students, teachers can also win $500 grants. To learn more about the competition, check out the website. Entries will be accepted from October 15 until January 31.

Mars Education Challenge

The Mars Education Challenge is a nationwide competition that calls on high school science educators to develop new and innovative curricula that focuses on Mars science and exploration. $17,500 in cash prizes are awarded annually, including a $5,000 grand prize. Registration closes December 16, 2011 and curricula support materials submissions are due January 16, 2012. More information, including entry details, curricula requirements, and detailed prizing information for the Mars Education Challenge, can be found on the competition website.

Shell Science Lab Challenge

The Shell Science Lab Challenge, a program of NSTA, encourages teachers (grades 6-12) in the U.S. and Canada, who have found innovative ways to deliver quality lab experiences with limited school and laboratory resources, to share their approaches for a chance to win a school science lab makeover support package valued at $20,000. Teachers and schools submitting top entries will receive additional laboratory tools, resources and rich professional development opportunities. $93,000 in prizes are awarded annually. Applications are due October 21, 2011. For more information about the Challenge, visit the program website.

Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge

K-12 students have the opportunity to become “Agents of Change” as they team up with their classmates to create replicable solutions to environmental issues in their classroom, school and community. Student and teacher/mentor prizes, which vary according to grade level, include savings bonds, school grants, exciting trips, and much more. Applications are now being accepted. The deadline for entries is March 15, 2012 (finalists and winners will be announced in April 2012). For more information about the Challenge or to register for the competition, visit the website.

Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision

ExploraVision is a competition that encourages K-12 students of all interest, skill and ability levels to create and explore a vision of a future technology by combining their imaginations with the tools of science. Teams of two to four students research scientific principles and current technologies as the basis for deigning innovative technologies that could exist in 20 years. Students compete for up to $240,000 in savings bonds for college and cool gifts from Toshiba. First- and second-place teams also receive an expenses-paid trip with their families, mentor and coach to Washington, D.C. for a gala awards weekend in June 2012. Applications are now being accepted; the deadline for applications is February 1. In an ExploraVision first, the teachers who submit the largest number of qualified student projects this year will receive a Toshiba tablet PC. For more information about the program or to learn how to apply, visit the competition website.

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