It’s contest season!

by Stephanie Chasteen on March 10, 2009

the U.S. Census Bureau Facts for Feature Photos

the U.S. Census Bureau Facts for Feature Photos

I’ve been getting more and more notices about upcoming contests that K12 students can enter, professional opportunities for teachers, or grant deadlines coming up, so I thought I’d compile them into a blog post.  If you have others you would like to add, stick them in the comments!

Teacher Institute at the Exploratorium

Application deadline April 1 — soon!  I can’t even describe how much this institute will change your teaching — I worked with the Teacher Institute for 2 summers, and it transformed me.  Teachers have nothing but good things to say about it.  Amazing program!  Here’s more info:

Our institutes focus on physics, middle-high school general science, life science and mathematics and support the content and pedagogy described in the National and California State Standards. After completing this 4-week institute, you become an alumnus of the Teacher Institute and are eligible to attend other workshops. The library also becomes available for project research.

Participants are required to study at the Exploratorium for five-and-one-half hours each day, Monday through Friday, for four weeks. Each participant is awarded a stipend of $1000 after completion. In the past years, three units of credit from San Francisco State University or six units of graduate credit from University of the Pacific were awarded through the program. Registration and paying for university credit takes place during the Institute. We anticipate the same types of credit to be offered during Summer 2009.

The dates for Summer 2009 are from June 22nd to July 17th.  This year’s applications are due back to us by April 1st and we let teachers know of their acceptance status by early May.

ACS-Hach High School Chemistry Grant

The ACS-Hach High School Chemistry Grant is awarded to teachers and institutions aiming to enhance the teaching and learning of high school chemistry. Applicants can receive up to $1,500 to support ideas that transform classroom learning and encourage student development.  The deadline to apply is April 1, 2009. Notification letters will be emailed May 1.  Google them for more info, or email  b_hach for the application.

Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge

Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge is the premiere national science competition for students in 5th-8th grade, and challenges middle schoolers to communicate science effectively. 3M and Discovery Education have partnered to nurture the next generation of American scientists with a fun science competition that celebrates great young science communicators.  Past finalists have gone on to speak in front of Congress, to participate in programs on Discovery Channel and Science Channel and to work with the nation’s top scientists.

To participate, students are challenged to create a one-to-two minute video using their scientific knowledge and communication skills to address one of four topics ( Videos must be submitted online at before May 20th. Over the summer, judges will pick 51 semifinalists (one from each state and DC), from which, they will pick the 10 top finalists. In October, these 10 finalists will receive an all-expense-paid trip to New York City to participate in the final competition, consisting of a series of scientific challenges. At the end of the competition, the winner will be crowned America’s Top Young Scientist and will receive $50,000 in U.S. Savings Bonds!

Physics High School Photo Contest

Every year, AAPT holds a contest for the best physics-based photos. The
contest is open to high school students in grades 9-12 (or equivalent
international grade level). Photos may be entered in one of two
categories: Natural and Contrived. Submit your entries online now!


Attention: High School Physics Teachers!
Enter your students in PHYSICSBOWL 2009 and receive national recognition for your school, your students, and your teaching excellence. Save 50% on AAPT Physics Bowl (CD-PBER) practice exams from years 2001-2006. Exams are available on CD in .pdf and .doc formats. Membern price: Was $19.95, now $10.00. Non-Member Price: Was $29.95, now $15. FREE
shipping. Order online at

Team America Rocketry Challenge

Do You Have a Winning Lesson Plan?  AAPT invites you to participate in the 2009 TARC lesson plan Contest.
Submit your lesson plans or similar documents describing your team’s activities, planning, and experiments undertaken while preparing for the 2009 TARC competition and you could win a prize!

Research Experiences for Teachers

PTEC, a project led by AAPT, the American Physical Society, and the American Institute of Physics, maintains a list of Research Experiences for Teachers, or RETs. These programs give in-service teachers an opportunity to spend part of their summer participating in cutting-edge physics research.

Modeling Workshops for Teachers

Modeling Workshops in high school physics, chemistry, and/or physical science will be held in summer 2009 in Arizona, California, Miami FL, Kansas, Maine, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Philadelphia PA, Pittsburgh PA, Tennessee, Dallas TX, and Wisconsin. Pending funding, also in Columbus
GA, Chicago, New Orleans, and Kansas City MO. Visit for details. Click on “Modeling Workshops Nationwide in Summer 2009”.

Modeling Workshops are peer-led. Modeling Instruction is the only high school science program recognized by the U.S. Dept. of Education as EXEMPLARY.  Stipends and/or free tuition are available for in-state teachers at most sites.

Teachers greatly value Modeling Instruction. Modelers from all over the
nation wrote:

  • In the one year that I have been modeling, I have seen wonderful results.
  • I love the modeling physics program and want to cheer for the difference
  • I saw in the understanding of my students when I implemented the Mechanics materials for the first time last year!
  • Modeling has changed the fundamental way I teach. I believe eventually, maybe even in our lifetimes, all science will be taught this way.
  • We have had 3 physics teachers and 5 chemistry teachers enhance their professional development at your ASU modeling workshops.  Modeling has made a world of difference in our science courses.

Free Teacher Professional Development Opportunity in Ocean and Climate Sciences

The deadline to register for the Summer Teacher Institute is March 15th.  Apply now –  the institute is limited to 25 teachers. This new professional development program provides opportunities for teachers to learn about ocean and climate sciences, how they fit into the Colorado Science Content Standards and experience inquiry-based activities they can use in their classrooms.

There are several options to participate in this innovative program. You can participate via videoconferencing at select BOCES sites or in person in Boulder. You can:

  • Attend lectures by ocean and climate scientists (no credit)
  • Participate in inquiry-based ocean and climate classroom activities (no credit)
  • Attend lectures and the weeklong Summer Institute June 8-12 (2 credits and $250 stipend)
  • Attend lectures, the Summer Institute, and implement inquiry-based activities in your class  (2 more credits)

Check our developing website for further details (

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