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Getting Started

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step” —Lao Tzu

You’ve reviewed the entry topics, checked out the prizes, watched a few winning videos from previous years, and determined that you have what it takes to be America’s Top Young Scientist.  Now what?

First, you must ask your parent to consent to your participation and register you.  Once that step is complete, you are ready to get to the meat of the assignment – finding your problem, creating your innovative solution, and shooting your 1-2 minute video explaining your idea. 

Use this project template as a guide to flesh out your project ideas.  Begin by asking yourself the following questions:

Ten Questions to Ask Yourself

  1. What kinds of problems are in the news?
  2. What kinds of problems do you see in your community every day?
  3. What kinds of problems do you hear your parents/friends complain about?
  4. Why does the problem exist?
  5. What are some of the circumstances that could have led to the problem?
  6. Who is involved in causing the problem?  Does it affect your community?  Other communities?
  7. Which problem most interests you?
  8. Which problem seems the most important to help solve?
  9. Which problem provided you with the most facts during your research?
  10. Which problem provides you with the best opportunity to use science to solve it?

Now that you have narrowed down your options, start brainstorming solutions.  Ideas and solutions can come from anywhere. Past participants have covered everything from engineering and technology, to health and safety, to sports and biology.  Remember, innovative ideas have no limits.

When you come up with some ideas, do a thorough search to make sure they don’t already exist.  Next, it’s time to pick the idea you are most interested in and start researching.  Be sure to know your topic thoroughly before you plan out your video.

When you are ready to start concepting your entry, take a moment to watch this video for inspiration, get tips on making a winning entry, and then access this storyboarding guideline to help you map out the story you want to tell our judges. 


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