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The Young ScientistChallenge

The ultimate middle school science competition.

The Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge is the nation’s premier science competition for grades 5-8. This one-of-a-kind video competition has sparked the imaginations of hundreds of thousands of students and enhanced science exploration, innovation and communication across the United States.


When first launched by Discovery Communications in 1999, the Young Scientist Challenge had the same mission it does today: to foster a new generation of American scientists at an age when interest in science generally declines. In 2008, Discovery Education joined forces with 3M – one of the world’s most notable innovators – to cultivate the next generation of problem-solvers and give students the unique opportunity to work directly with 3M scientists.

Young Scientist Challenge winners have gone on to speak in front of Congress, work with the nation’s top scientists, and pursue academic careers in science.

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  • DECEMBER-APRIL:Open for entries! Time to record and send in a brilliant idea.
  • APRIL and MAY:Judges review all entries.
  • JUNE and JULY:Finalists and State Merit Winners announced.
  • JULY-SEPTEMBER:Ten finalists participate in a summer mentorship program with 3M scientists.
  • OCTOBER:Finalists travel to 3M HQ to compete in the final event. One grand-prize winner is chosen!


Everyday life is full of everyday issues, and the Young Scientist Challenge is seeking your innovative solutions to help solve them. From helmets that detect concussions to using solar energy for water purification, past finalists have dreamed ideas that change the way we live. Tell us about your great new idea for the chance to meet fellow young scientists, collaborate with world-renowned scientists, and win incredible prizes.


To enter our video competition, students need to think critically about the world around them; identify an everyday problem relative to their lives; brainstorm real-world solutions using science, technology, engineering and math STEM principles; and produce a 1-2 minute video explaining their innovative solution. Prepare them for this authentic learning experience with engaging videos, interactives, science lesson plans and more which bring STEM to life. The Young Scientist Challenge gives students the opportunity to hone the critical skills they need for college and career success – including an exclusive summer mentorship with real 3M scientists to see STEM in action!