MiddleSchoolPortal/Student Opportunities

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Envision the City of Tomorrow – Future Cities

Deadline: Various


The National Engineers Week Future City Competition is an example of problem-based learning with computer simulation. It is an integrated, multidisciplinary, holistic approach to relevant issues and is a strong example of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education that addresses national and state academic content standards. The program asks sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students from around the nation to team with engineer volunteer mentors to create - first on computer and then in large, three-dimensional models - their visions of the city of tomorrow. Registration now open; check the website out after September 1 for more information.

Energy Awards, Challenges, and Competitions

Deadline: Various


America’s Home Energy Education Challenge, sponsored by the Deptartment of Energy and the National Science Teachers Association, offers teachers and their students the opportunity to learn about energy, its use, and how energy conservation saves money and precious resources. Participating schools will compete for more than $200,000 in prizes distributed at the regional and national levels of the competition.

Home Energy Award, the first segment of the Challenge, inspires friendly competition among classes and schools. Teams from 11 regions of the U.S. compete for $102,000 in cash prize. The winning projects will be based on student participation rates, energy savings, and the overall creativity and quality of the participating local competition.

Students who are unable to monitor their individual home energy may participate in an optional activity of the Challenge that involves developing a home energy savings plan and a poster depicting that plan. The winners of this optional program will be judged on their poster and their plan and compete for $48,000 in cash prizes.

The Energy Fitness Award, the second segment of the Challenge, focuses directly on individual and classroom knowledge about energy. This online component is a separate educational gaming activity. Students can participate at any time and can return to play multiple times. Each student who successfully completes the Energy Fitness Award quiz will receive an Energy Fitness Badge. Schools and/or classrooms with exemplary participation in this activity will earn additional prizes. For more information, visit America's Home Energy Education challenge website:

Do Something Grants, Scholarships and Awards

Deadline: Ongoing and Various


DoSomething.Org offers a myriad of opportunities for students to take action, learn, collaborate, and make a difference, including $500 seed grants, $250 "project pitch" grants , and $250 Do Something Club grants.

NEA Foundation Student Achievement Grants

Deadline: June 1 and October 15, 2011


The foundation provides grants to increase the academic achievement of students in U.S. public schools and public higher education institutions in any subject area. The proposed work should engage students in critical thinking and problem solving that deepen their knowledge of standards-based subject matter. The work should also improve students’ habits of inquiry, self-directed learning, and critical reflection.

Proposals for work resulting in low-income and minority student success with honors, advanced placement, or other challenging curricula are particularly encouraged. Practicing U.S. public school teachers, public school education support professionals, and faculty and staff members at public institutions of higher education may apply. The maximum grant amount is $5,000. Deadlines are February 1, June 1, and October 15 each year.

NEA Foundation–Nickelodeon Big Help Grants

Deadline: June 1 and October 15, 2011


These grants are available in the form of Student Achievement grants to K-8 public school educators. The Big Help Grants program is dedicated to the development and implementation of ideas, techniques, and approaches for addressing four key concerns: environmental awareness, health and wellness, students’ right to a quality public education, and active community involvement.

Proposals for work resulting in low-income and minority student success with honors, advanced placement, or other challenging curricula are particularly encouraged. Practicing U.S. public school teachers, public school education support professionals, and faculty and staff members at public institutions of higher education may apply. The maximum grant amount is $5,000. Deadlines are February 1, June 1, and October 15 each year.

Discovery Student Adventures: Costa Rica

Deadline: April 9 to August 16, 2011


During this eight-day trip, participants will be immersed in the rainforest, discovering new fragrances, studying medicinal plants, and tasting exotic fruits. They will witness the ritual of leatherback turtles laying their eggs on a beach and will soar more than 500 feet above the rainforest in a series of zip lines near the active Arenal volcano. Participants will also take part in a vital reforestation project while learning the impact humans have on conservation and the environment. Check the website to see which 8-day periods these trips will be held.

INVENT AMERICA! National Contest

Deadline: August 31, 2011


The Innovating Worthy Projects Foundation (IWPF) was founded to provide financial help to quality special-needs children's programs. IWPF makes grants to organizations dedicated to serving developing innovative programs, disseminating ideas, or providing direct care or services for children with special needs, acute illnesses, or chronic disabilities. All applicant institutions must be qualified for exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Student Research opportunity Aboard International Space

Deadline: September 15, 2011


The National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE), in partnership with NanoRacks, LLC, announces an immediate opportunity for communities across the U.S. to participate in the first Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) mission to America’s National Laboratory in space - the International Space Station (ISS). The program is also open to ISS partner nations.

Each participating community will be provided an experiment slot in a real microgravity research mini-laboratory scheduled to fly on the International Space Station (ISS) from March 30 to May 16, 2012. An experiment design competition in each community—engaging typically 300 to 1,000 students—allows student teams to design real experiments vying for their community’s reserved experiment slot on ISS. Additional SSEP programming leverages the experiment design competition to engage the community, embracing a Learning Community Model for STEM education.

SSEP missions on STS-134 (Shuttle Endeavour) and STS-135 (Shuttle Atlantis) have recently been completed, with 1,027 student team proposals received, and 27 SSEP experiments selected and flown—representing the 27 communities that participated in SSEP on the Space Shuttle.

Recycle Bowl

Deadline: October 17-November 12, 2011


The first-ever Recycle-Bowl competition, hosted by national nonprofit Keep America Beautiful, Inc., will occur October 17-November 12, 2011, with cash prizes and other rewards for the winning schools. Each school competes to become the top recycling school in their state by collecting the most recyclables per capita, with a chance at becoming the top recycling school in the nation and earning $2,500. Recycle-Bowl is an opportunity to bring new excitement to a school’s current recycling program or after-school club activity.

Recycle-Bowl is a community improvement program by Keep America Beautiful (KAB) that helps prevent litter, reduce waste and beautify communities. KAB claims to be “the nation’s largest volunteer-based community action and education organization.” For more information, visit

Youth Incentive Award from the Coleopterists Society

Deadline: November 1, 2011


The Coleopterists Society, an international organization of professionals and hobbyists interested in the study of beetles, has established a program to recognize young people studying beetles. The Society has pledged to provide up to $300 each year for the Youth Incentive Award Program. Each of the two awards (Junior and Senior) is a monetary grant of $150, award recipients also will receive up to $200 (Junior Award) and $400 (Senior Award) of equipment credit from the BioQuip Products catalog. In addition to monetary and BioQuip grants, award recipients will receive a one year subscription to the society journal, The Coleopterists Bulletin

Additional details and application forms for The Coleopterists Society Youth Incentive Award Program can be obtained from: Dr. David G. Furth at the Smithsonian Institution, email: Applications for this year must be submitted by November 1, 2011.

NSTA Angela Award

Deadline: November 30, 2011


The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) is accepting entries for the Angela Award. The Angela Award honors one female student in grades 5-8, who is involved in or has a strong connection to science. The awardee will be honored at the Teacher Awards Banquet at NSTA's National Conference.

Walmart Store and Sam's Club Giving Program

Deadline: December 31, 2011


The Walmart Foundation supports programs and initiatives that address the educational needs of underserved young people ages 12-25. Examples include programs focused on high school success, access and retention of first-generation college students, and adolescent literacy. Maximum grant award is $5,000.

Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision Program

Deadline: December 31, 2011


The ExploraVision program, sponsored by Toshiba and administered by NSTA, was created to help motivate young students to excel in science and technology. It challenges teams of 2–4 students to research scientific principles and current technologies as the basis for designing innovative technologies that could exist in 20 years. Students on the four first-place ExploraVision winning teams will each receive a $10,000 U.S. Series EE Savings Bond valued at maturity. Students on second-place teams will each receive a $5,000 bond valued at maturity. Canadian winners receive Canada bonds purchased for the equivalent issue price in Canadian dollars. The eight teams will also receive an expenses-paid trip with their families, mentor and coach to Washington, D.C., for a gala awards weekend in June 2012.

San Fransisco/Bay Area Clean-Tech Competition

Deadline: January 2, 2012


For middle and high school students, ages 13–18, who attend school in the San Francisco/Bay area—the Clean Tech Competition offers a real-world problem to solve that demonstrates the powerful potential of clean technology. The inaugural year's challenge will involve students in two of the world's most historic centers of innovation—the San Francisco/Bay Area and Xi'an, China. The competition will engage youth of all skill, ability and interest levels in a common challenge to highlight the roles that science and technology and the strategy of design play in solving problems that transcend national boundaries and to help prepare students for success in life. Teams in each region will compete for $17,000 in cash prizes.

The 2011 challenge posed to students is titled "Solar Solutions to the Rescue." Teams of entrants will design a solar-powered solution to a basic human need identified in the aftermath of a natural disaster. Participants will define a situation, explore the issue, and then present their unique clean tech solution to a panel of industry and education experts for judging. In the process, students will learn valuable scientific literacy skills and be inspired to pursue science and technical fields as potential education and career paths.

How can clean technology save our planet and improve the way people live and work? Take the challenge and find out. Visit the competition website for more information.

Odyssey of the Mind

Deadline: May 1, 2012


NASA is sponsoring the Odyssey of the Mind Long-Term Problem – Weird Science. Odyssey of the Mind is an international educational program that offers creative problem-solving opportunities for students from kindergarten through college. Participants apply their creativity to solve problems that range from building mechanical devices to presenting their own interpretation of literary classics. The teams then bring their solutions to competition on the local, state and international levels.

This year’s NASA-sponsored problem requires teams to create and present a performance about a team of scientists on an expedition to uncover the cause of mysterious events. The performance must include a technical representation of the mysterious events, a moving backdrop that helps portray traveling and a team-created device that the scientists use on the expedition.

SNforK: Science News for Kids

SNforK is a web site devoted to science news for children of ages 9 to 14. Their goal is to offer timely items of interest to kids, accompanied by suggestions for hands-on activities, books, articles, Web resources, and other useful materials.

Their emphasis is on making the Web site appealing by offering kids opportunities to comment on and grade the subject matter, get ideas for science projects, and try out mathematical puzzles. At the same time, they offer teachers creative ways of using science news in their classrooms.

Showcase Women in Science

STEM Stories is a collection of short videos and personal stories that showcase women’s careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

The site, aimed at girls in grades 4–8, challenges stereotypes about women in STEM and provides role models for young girls interested in pursuing a career in STEM. The site is based on work supported by the NSF National Science Digital Library program.

PK-12: Help Girls Succeed in Math and Science


Braincake is a program of science-oriented activities, contests, games and experiments from The Girls Math & Science Partnership, which is part of the Carnegie Science Center, one of the four Carnegie Museums in Pittsburgh.

Author and Copyright

This page is brought to you by the staff of the Middle School Portal 2: Mathematics and Science Pathways (MSP2) project. Connect with colleagues and find exemplary resources at Email any comments to

Copyright 2010-2011 - The Ohio State University. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation Grant No. 0840824. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.