Our 3rd Annual STEM Writing Contest

How do daddy longlegs develop such unusual legs? Can genetically engineered micro organism assist us detect buried land mines? Why does snow generally flip crimson? Can Saturn’s rings assist to disclose what’s occurring within the planet’s core?

For those who click on on any of those articles, you’ll see that they’re written for a common reader. Particular technical or scientific information isn’t required, and every is designed to get our consideration and preserve it — by giving us “information we are able to use” in our personal lives, or by exploring one thing fascinating in a manner that makes it straightforward to know and reveals us why it issues.

That’s what Instances journalists do day by day throughout our Science, Well being and Know-how sections, and it’s what Science News and Science News for Students do on their websites too, the place journalists clarify issues just like the moon’s orbital wobble, “zombie” wildfires and how sleep may affect test scores.

For this contest, The Studying Community invitations you to carry that very same spirit of inquiry and discovery to discovering a STEM-related query, idea or subject you’re keen on, and, in 500 phrases or fewer, explaining it to a common viewers in a manner that not solely helps us perceive, but in addition engages us and makes us see why it’s vital.

So what questions do you have about how the world works? What science, expertise, engineering, math or well being questions is likely to be impressed by your individual life or experiences? What improvements, processes or issues in any of those areas puzzle or intrigue you? What ideas in STEM — whether or not from biology, physics, psychology, laptop science, algebra or calculus — have you ever discovered about, in or out of faculty, that is likely to be helpful or enjoyable to clarify to others?

The most effective of this sort of writing contains three parts we’ll be asking you to incorporate, too:

  • It begins with a fascinating hook to get readers’ consideration and make us care in regards to the topic.

  • It quotes specialists and/or contains analysis on the subject to provide context and credibility.

  • It explains why the subject issues. Why do you care? Why ought to we care? Whom or what does it have an effect on, why and the way? How is it related to broader questions within the discipline, to the world right now and to our personal lives.

Check out the complete pointers and associated assets beneath. Please submit any questions you’ve got within the feedback and we’ll reply you there, or write to us at [email protected]

This contest begins on Feb. 2, 2022. We are going to add hyperlinks to the submission varieties right here on the day the competition opens.

College students ages 11 to 19 anyplace on the planet attending center or highschool can take part. College students ages 13 to 19 years outdated in america and the UK, and college students ages 16 to 19 years outdated anyplace else on the planet, can submit their very own entries. Youthful college students can have an grownup submit on their behalf.

1. Select a STEM subject you care about.

Possibly it’s one thing private — you simply came upon you’re nearsighted and also you need to know what meaning, otherwise you need to be taught in regards to the mind and learn how to create extra environment friendly examine habits.

Or, possibly it’s one thing cool you noticed in science lab that you just’d like to clarify, or a phenomenon you’ve seen in your individual neighborhood, faculty or backyard that you just’d like to analyze. It could possibly be a subject you already know an awesome deal about and need to clarify to others, or one thing you’ve by no means thought of till now.

Please select one thing you might be genuinely inquisitive about. We’ve been working scholar writing contests for over a decade, and one factor we all know for certain is that the very best writing is impressed by college students’ actual pursuits, not from a one-size-fits-all project given to a whole class.

2. Make certain your subject is slender sufficient which you could cowl it effectively in 500 phrases or fewer.

You in all probability can’t clarify all the circulatory system inside our phrase restrict, however you in all probability can clarify why the guts retains beating. You in all probability can’t get throughout all of the pondering and analysis on the science of happiness, however you in all probability can select one research-backed suggestion and discover it.

3. Do analysis, and cite your sources.

For this contest, we’re partnering with Science Information. At the very least one in every of your sources should be from both The New York Instances, Science Information OR its sister website, Science Information for College students. However in fact you need to use all three, and some other extra sources.

We offer you a separate discipline to make an inventory of sources you used to put in writing your article or essay. You possibly can format your checklist nonetheless you need; we is not going to choose your entry primarily based on formatting on this part. And, inside citations usually are not crucial.

We additionally encourage you to interview specialists whose work is related to your chosen subject. However that doesn’t imply it’s a must to name the pinnacle of the U.S. Forest Service if you wish to write about butterfly habitats. You possibly can discuss to a neighborhood park ranger or gardener who has expertise with and intensive information in regards to the subject.

And, in fact, a part of your analysis could be your individual investigations. Let’s say you’re writing about youngsters’ use of e-books. You would possibly survey your individual class or grade about their habits and preferences, then use these findings in your piece.

4. However be very cautious to place quotations round any direct quotes you employ, and to quote the supply of something you paraphrase.

If we put a sentence out of your submission right into a search engine, we don’t need to discover it anyplace else — until you’re clearly quoting or citing that supply.

5. Your submission should be 500 phrases or fewer, not together with the title.

6. Right here is the rubric that reveals precisely what we’re on the lookout for.

7. Please submit just one entry per scholar.

Write your essay by your self or with a bunch, however please submit just one essay per scholar. If you’re working as a group, simply bear in mind to submit your whole names if you submit your entry. And should you’re submitting as a part of a group, you shouldn’t additionally submit as a person.

8. The deadline for this contest is Wednesday, March 9, at 11:59 p.m. Pacific time.

We offer a small window of time after that deadline to permit for technical difficulties. Nonetheless, sooner or later after the deadline, our contest submission type closes and you’ll not be allowed to submit an entry, so please be aware of the deadline and submit early.

Solutions to your questions on judging, the principles and educating with this contest. Please learn these totally and, should you nonetheless can’t discover what you’re on the lookout for, submit your question within the feedback or write to us at [email protected]


How will my essay be judged?

Your work might be learn by journalists from The New York Instances and Science Information in addition to by Studying Community workers members and STEM educators from round america. We are going to use this rubric to evaluate entries.

What’s the “prize”?

Having your work revealed on The New York Instances Studying Community.

When will the winners be introduced?

About two months after the competition has closed.

My essay wasn’t chosen as a winner. Are you able to inform me why?

We obtain 1000’s of entries for this contest, so, sadly, our group doesn’t have the capability to offer particular person suggestions on every scholar’s essay.


Who’s eligible to take part on this contest?

For this contest, we invite college students ages 11 to 19 in center faculty or highschool to enter. For college students in america, we contemplate center faculty to start in sixth grade; college students exterior of america should be no less than 11 years outdated to enter.

The youngsters and stepchildren of New York Instances workers usually are not eligible to enter this contest. Nor are college students who dwell in the identical family as these workers.

If you’re unsure if you’re eligible for this contest (for instance, should you’re taking a spot yr), please see our more detailed eligibility rules.

My essay was revealed in my faculty newspaper. Can I submit it to this contest?

No. We ask that your essay be authentic for this contest. Please don’t submit something you’ve got already revealed on the time of submission, whether or not in a college newspaper, for an additional contest or anyplace else.

Do I want a Works Cited web page?

Sure. We offer you a separate discipline to checklist the sources you used to put in writing your essay. You’re allowed to format your checklist nonetheless you need; we is not going to choose your entry primarily based on formatting on this part. Inside citations usually are not crucial.

Can I’ve another person verify my work?

We perceive that college students will typically revise their work primarily based on suggestions from academics and friends. That’s allowed for this contest. Nonetheless, ensure that the ultimate submission displays the concepts, voice and writing potential of the scholar, not another person.

Who can I contact if I’ve questions on this contest or am having points submitting my entry?

Depart a touch upon this submit or write to us at [email protected]


I’m a trainer. What assets do it’s a must to assist me educate with this contest?

Begin with our unit plan for informational writing. It contains writing prompts, mentor texts and lesson plans that may help this contest.

You may also invite your college students to learn the winners of final yr’s contest to get inspiration for their very own work.

Do my college students want a New York Instances subscription to entry these assets?

No. The entire assets on The Studying Community are free.

In case your college students don’t have a subscription to The New York Instances, they’ll additionally get entry to Instances items via The Studying Community. All of the actions for college kids on our website, together with mentor texts and writing prompts, plus the Instances articles they hyperlink to, are free. College students can seek for articles utilizing the search instrument on our dwelling web page. In the remainder of The Instances, they’ll entry as much as 5 free articles a month.

How do my college students show to me that they entered this contest?

After they submit their essays, college students ought to obtain an electronic mail from The New York Instances with the topic heading “Thanks in your submission to our STEM Writing Contest,” which they’ll ahead to you to indicate their entry has been accepted.

This contest is a collaboration with the Society for Science & the Public, writer of Science News, a supply of unbiased nonprofit journalism on the most recent in science, medication and expertise since 1921, Science News for Students and the Science News in High Schools program.

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