STEM Education Challenges Offered to the Scientific Community

June 24, 2011

By Paula Skedsvold

In recent weeks, several challenges have been presented to the scientific community by federal agencies interested in STEM education.

In one challenge, the Office of Naval Research announced a “grand challenge” to award up to $8 million for ideas to boost K-12 education in the sciences. The Navy will award up to $1.5 million to Phase I participants, and teams will compete to advance to Phase II when two teams will be awarded up to $1 million each. In Phase I, teams must develop an intelligent tutor that uses computers and customized instruction to augment the classroom and aid middle to high school STEM teaching. In Phase II, the tutor must be adapted to address Navy training audiences. Learn more »

NIH also announced its challenge to “bring discovery into the classroom” through its Bioscience (LAB) Challenge for K-12. The new competition invites scientists, teachers, and students to submit their favorite experiments to become part of a collection that NIH will distribute for free. The goal is to get across ideas about science that that are inexpensive, easy for teachers to access and use in the classroom, and enjoyable for students. Submissions are due by December 1, 2011. Learn more »

Taking a different angle, the National Science Foundation and the journal Science (published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science) are inviting participation in a “Visualization Challenge” to communicate science, engineering, and technology for education and journalistic purposes. The challenge announcement states: “In a world where science literacy is dismayingly rare, illustrations provide the most immediate and influential connection between scientists and other citizens, and the best hope for nurturing popular interest. Indeed, they are now a necessity for public understanding of research developments.” So grab your favorite artist or visualization specialist and submit your entry by September 30, 2011. Learn more »