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Entry FAQs

1. How do students enter?

To enter, students need to submit a 1-2 minute video which describes a new invention or solution that could solve or impact an everyday problem that directly affects them, their families, their communities, and/or the global population.  Idea starters include: How We Manufacture; How We Provide Energy; How We Stay Safe; or How We Stay Healthy; however, entrants are not limited to these areas of focus.

2. Is the competition open to anyone?

The competition is open to students enrolled in 5th through 8th grade in the U.S.

3. Why do parents have to grant permission for students to enter?

In compliance with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998, Parental/guardian consent is needed for any person under the age of 13 years to give personal information to a third party over the internet. In the case of our competition, each student's parent/guardian needs to grant consent for us to receive their entry.

4. Can students enter as pairs or teams?

Students may not submit as pairs or in groups - only individual submissions will be accepted.

5. Can music be used in my video?

Entry videos may not contain music unless created by the student or by someone who has given the entrant permission to use his/her music.

6. Where can students get a video camera?

Many cell phones and digital cameras can be used to film a short video. Students who don't have access to either can check with their teacher, school media center, or local Public Library.

7. How can students retrieve a lost username/password?

When a student's parent/guardian completed the required consent form and registration form, the student's username and a link to change their password were emailed to the student and his/her parent/guardian. Passwords can also be reset here.

8. Are there rules and guidelines about how to make a video?

Yes, it is very important that each student read and comply with the Official Rules and Regulations and Safety Guidelines.
The official rules for the 2016 Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge are posted here.

9. Are there examples of successful videos that can be viewed?

Tips from some past winners and their videos can be viewed here.

Note: Entry criteria changes each year, so please read the 2016 guidelines carefully.

10. Are there other resources available?

Check out our student resources page.

11. How do students submit a video?

Students must have a user account to submit a video. Once a student's parent/guardian has completed the consent form and registration page the student should see the Upload button on Step 3.
Students should submit a video as a YouTube link by April 20, 2016. Before uploading your video, be sure it meets the following criteria:

  1. Your video only contains your original ideas and work.
  2. Your video does not have copyrighted or trademarked content.
  3. Please make sure the title of your video is "DE3MYSC Submission - [Your Title]".
  4. Your video is between 1-2 minutes in length.
  5. Your video is uploaded to YouTube and published for public viewing and set to unlisted. Please note, do not set your video to private. (see for details)

Any video that does not meet this criteria will be disqualified from the challenge. Questions? Email us at

12. Can submitted videos be updated?

Yes, students can log into their account and submit a new video link prior to April 20, 2016 at 8:00pm ET. Once a new link has been provided, the new link will overwrite the old link associated with the student's account.

Judging FAQs

13. How are videos judged?

Videos do NOT need to be "produced" or have high production value. Judges are not evaluating production skills. Videos may be recorded on cell phones or simple digital cameras, for example. In addition, local libraries and schools may be able to loan cameras to students.

Entries that follow all of the rules and regulations will be ranked based on the average of scores awarded by a panel of judges using the following rubric:

  • Creativity (ingenuity and innovative thinking) (30%)
  • Scientific knowledge (30%)
  • Persuasiveness and effective communication (20%)
  • Overall presentation (20%)

14. Who are the judges?

The video competition is judged by a field of experts in science and communication including current and former teachers, scientists, and representatives from school districts across the country.

15. When and how will students find out if they have won?

Students will be contacted via phone and/or email in early June if they are selected as a Finalist. State Merit Winners will be notified in mid-June.

Summer Mentorship FAQs

16. What is the summer mentorship program?

Finalists will receive a summer assignment to develop an invention, to be completed under the mentorship of a 3M scientist.

Final Event FAQs

17. What happens at the finals?

Ten student finalists will receive a trip to the competition finals, where they will each give a presentation based on their work in the summer mentorship program, and participate in a series of scored challenges to demonstrate their scientific knowledge. Travel dates are anticipated to take place from October 16, 2016 through October 18, 2016, but are subject to change.

Prizing FAQs

18. What are the student prizes?

At the end of the competition, America's Top Young Scientist will be awarded $25,000, and other finalists will receive exciting prizes.

Sample prizing for winners includes:

State Merit Winners (up to 51 - one from each State and the District of Columbia)

  • Technology Prize Pack

Finalists (10)

  • A trip for the student and ONE parent/guardian to competition finals
  • $1,000
  • A Contest Medal
  • A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attend a taping of a Discovery Network show

Grand Prize

  • $25,000
  • A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attend a taping of a Discovery Network show
  • A Contest Trophy
  • The title of "America's Top Young Scientist"

19. What if I have a question that is not addressed here?

Contact us at Information submitted to this email address by unregistered students will be deleted after a single response.

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