The World Needs You

Kim Moldofsky is the publisher of The Maker Mom and STEM Kids Chicago.

“The world needs you. Badly.”

Scientist E.O. Wilson kicked off a talk to young scientists with this plea. We need future scientists to meet challenges, like droughts, forest fires, more plentiful and powerful storms, that we’re facing as a result of global climate change. We need nanotechnologists and particle physicist to explore the tiniest things. We need astronomers to study the farthest galaxies. We need oceanologists to study the deepest crevices of our planet. And we also need scientists for every area in between to help us understand our world.

What does it take to develop this new generation of scientists? It starts with encouraging curious kids who ask things like, why does? How might? What if? Granted, in today’s world we may need to add extra coaxing for children to move beyond the information they get served up by nearest voice-controlled intelligent assistant.

That extra nudge might lead your child or student to enter the 2018 Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge. All is takes to enter is a novel solution for an everyday problem at home, in your region, or the world, outlined in a 1-2 minute video. Don’t delay; the entry deadline is April 19.

Win Big

The winner will receive a $25,000 scholarship, a chance to attend the taping of a Discovery Network show, the opportunity to work with a 3M mentor, the ability to bring an innovative idea to life, the title of America’s Top Young Scientist. Clearly, there are several compelling reasons to enter.

But doubts can creep in and young people may find excuses not to enter. In case your gentle encouragement isn’t enough to get your students over the hump, the 2017 finalists offer up some convincing arguments.

The World is Waiting

Anika Bhagavatula wants students to remember that “there are so many people who would love to hear about your project!” And Kathryn Lampo notes, “Just because your idea or project isn’t perfect right now doesn't mean it can’t be in the future.” Half of an entrant's score is based on demonstrated creative thinking and persuasive communication. Click here to learn more about how videos are evaluated.

Just Try

Laalitya Acharya advises potential entrants to “​TRY IT!!!” She says,“I entered the Young Scientist Challenge in 2016 and I was not selected as a finalist. But just the process of creating an innovation, learning how to film and edit a video was rewarding and it taught me some important life skills. It allowed me to make a video in 2017 that got me selected as a finalist!! And if you don't make it one year, wait until the next and try again. Just by submitting a video you are giving yourself a chance at this once in a lifetime opportunity that truly will change your life!”

And Simone Jacobs admits she started with a spark of an idea that eventually “evolved into a fully formed, functional, and innovative idea that led me to the finals of the competition! My advice is, the craziest and weirdest ideas are the ones that change the world, so never dismiss an idea right off the bat. If you're passionate about solving a problem, there are no limits for have far you can push it and improve. You never know all the wonderful places an idea will take you, and you'll never find out if you don't try.”

The deadline is just weeks away on April 19, 2018. Have your students enter today!