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FAQ's

Entry FAQs

1. How do students enter?

To enter, students need to submit a 1-2 minute video which describes a new innovation 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 Communicate; How We Move; How We Stay Healthy; or How We Make a Difference; 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 2015 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 2015 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.
To submit a video, students should click on the "Upload" button and follow the steps below:

  1. Click on the Upload button.
  2. A pop-up window will appear to allow the entry video to be selected on the student's computer.
  3. Search for and select the entry video file.
  4. If using a PC, click on Open after selecting the video file.
  5. The video should now appear under the Selected File section.
  6. Click FINISH to submit the video.

Please note that videos must be in ASF, AVI, FLV, MOV, MPG, MPEG, WMV, or MP4 format in order in order to be submitted. Also, the video must be under 100 MBs and no more than 2 minutes long or the video will be disqualified from the challenge.

Submitted videos may take up to 20 minutes to appear within an account. Entrants will receive an email verifying that the submission was successful.

12. Can submitted videos be updated?

Yes, students can log into their account and submit a new video file prior to April 21, 2015 at 8:00pm ET. Once a new video file has been uploaded, the new file will overwrite the old file associated with the student's account.

13. If an entry video is larger than 100mb, how can the file size of the video be reduced for upload?

Many free encoder solutions can be downloaded through the Internet, such as Riva FLV Encoder, SUPER, or MPlayer (Mac). The listed third party solutions are not related to Discovery Education or 3M, and are to be used by entrants at their own risk. Entrants can also try adjusting the settings within their video editor to reduce the pixel resolution and frame rate of the file.

Judging FAQs

14. 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%)

15. 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.

16. 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

17. 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

18. 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 11, 2015 through October 13, 2015, but are subject to change.

Prizing FAQs

19. 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 chance to win a student adventure trip to a destination such as Costa Rica

Grand Prize

  • $25,000
  • A student adventure trip to a destination such as Costa Rica
  • A Contest Trophy
  • The title of "America's Top Young Scientist"

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

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

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