Our 3rd Annual STEM Writing Contest

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How do daddy longlegs increase this sort of weird legs? Can genetically engineered microbes help us detect buried land mines? Why does snow at times transform red? Can Saturn’s rings support to expose what is taking place in the planet’s core?

If you click on on any of these posts, you’ll see that they are created for a normal reader. Unique complex or scientific understanding is not demanded, and each individual is made to get our awareness and preserve it — by offering us “news we can use” in our individual lives, or by checking out a little something interesting in a way that helps make it effortless to recognize and exhibits us why it matters.

That’s what Instances journalists do every single day across our Science, Well being and Technologies sections, and it is what Science News and Science Information for Learners do on their web-sites as well, where journalists clarify items like the moon’s orbital wobble, “zombie” wildfires and how rest might influence check scores.

For this contest, The Studying Community invites you to deliver that very same spirit of inquiry and discovery to discovering a STEM-related problem, principle or concern you are interested in, and, in 500 terms or less, outlining it to a normal viewers in a way that not only helps us recognize, but also engages us and will make us see why it’s vital.

So what thoughts do you have about how the planet performs? What science, know-how, engineering, math or well being questions may possibly be motivated by your own existence or activities? What improvements, processes or challenges in any of these locations puzzle or intrigue you? What concepts in STEM — whether or not from biology, physics, psychology, computer system science, algebra or calculus — have you figured out about, in or out of school, that could be helpful or fun to demonstrate to other folks?

The best of this form of producing features three elements we’ll be asking you to include things like, as well:

  • It commences with an engaging hook to get readers’ notice and make us care about the subject.

  • It estimates professionals and/or includes study on the topic to give context and believability.

  • It points out why the subject matters. Why do you treatment? Why should we care? Whom or what does it impact, why and how? How is it relevant to broader queries in the industry, to the world nowadays and to our very own lives.

Get a glimpse at the total rules and associated methods down below. You should article any questions you have in the feedback and we’ll response you there, or publish to us at LNFeedback@nytimes.com.

This contest begins on Feb. 2, 2022. We will add back links to the submission types below on the day the contest opens.

Students ages 11 to 19 wherever in the world attending center or high college can take part. Students ages 13 to 19 several years previous in the United States and the United Kingdom, and pupils ages 16 to 19 decades previous any where else in the earth, can submit their own entries. Younger pupils can have an adult post on their behalf.

1. Decide on a STEM subject matter you treatment about.

It’s possible it is one thing own — you just located out you’re nearsighted and you want to know what that implies, or you want to discover about the mind and how to generate extra productive analyze behavior.

Or, possibly it’s some thing great you observed in science lab that you’d like to describe, or a phenomenon you’ve found in your individual community, faculty or backyard that you’d like to investigate. It could be a matter you by now know a wonderful offer about and want to explain to other folks, or one thing you’ve never imagined about right until now.

Please select some thing you are truly curious about. We have been running student creating contests for around a 10 years, and one particular thing we know for positive is that the greatest composing is encouraged by students’ authentic pursuits, not from a one particular-sizing-fits-all assignment specified to an complete class.

2. Make absolutely sure your topic is narrow adequate that you can address it perfectly in 500 words or fewer.

You likely simply cannot make clear the overall circulatory procedure inside of our term restrict, but you most likely can reveal why the coronary heart keeps beating. You possibly just can’t get throughout all the wondering and investigate on the science of happiness, but you almost certainly can pick a person exploration-backed suggestion and investigate it.

3. Do study, and cite your resources.

For this contest, we are partnering with Science Information. At minimum one of your sources should be from either The New York Periods, Science Information OR its sister website, Science Information for Learners. But of course you can use all a few, and any other additional sources.

We provide you with a independent field to make a checklist of sources you employed to write your article or essay. You can format your checklist however you want we will not decide your entry based mostly on formatting in this part. And, internal citations are not important.

We also stimulate you to interview gurus whose perform is related to your selected subject matter. But that doesn’t suggest you have to call the head of the U.S. Forest Assistance if you want to publish about butterfly habitats. You can talk to a local park ranger or gardener who has encounter with and considerable information about the subject.

And, of study course, component of your investigate can be your personal investigations. Let’s say you’re composing about teenagers’ use of e-guides. You might study your have class or quality about their behaviors and tastes, then use these findings in your piece.

4. But be pretty careful to place quotations all over any immediate estimates you use, and to cite the supply of just about anything you paraphrase.

If we place a sentence from your submission into a search motor, we really do not want to uncover it any place else — until you’re plainly quoting or citing that source.

5. Your submission need to be 500 text or less, not together with the title.

6. Right here is the rubric that reveals just what we’re on the lookout for.

7. Remember to post only a single entry for every college student.

Write your essay by oneself or with a group, but you should post only a single essay per student. If you are doing the job as a group, just remember to submit all of your names when you post your entry. And if you are submitting as part of a group, you really should not also submit as an unique.

8. The deadline for this contest is Wednesday, March 9, at 11:59 p.m. Pacific time.

We offer a modest window of time just after that deadline to let for specialized problems. Having said that, at some stage following the deadline, our contest submission type closes and you will not be permitted to post an entry, so make sure you be aware of the deadline and post early.

Answers to your queries about judging, the procedures and instructing with this contest. Be sure to go through these thoroughly and, if you however simply cannot locate what you’re looking for, publish your query in the opinions or publish to us at LNFeedback@nytimes.com.


How will my essay be judged?

Your operate will be examine by journalists from The New York Moments and Science News as well as by Finding out Network team members and STEM educators from about the United States. We will use this rubric to decide entries.

What is the “prize”?

Acquiring your get the job done released on The New York Instances Discovering Community.

When will the winners be introduced?

About two months soon after the contest has shut.

My essay was not selected as a winner. Can you explain to me why?

We obtain countless numbers of entries for this contest, so, however, our staff does not have the capability to present person responses on each individual student’s essay.

Concerns ABOUT THE Rules

Who is qualified to take part in this contest?

For this contest, we invite learners ages 11 to 19 in center faculty or high university to enter. For college students in the United States, we take into consideration center faculty to commence in 6th grade college students exterior of the United States need to be at least 11 a long time outdated to enter.

The youngsters and stepchildren of New York Instances personnel are not eligible to enter this contest. Nor are college students who dwell in the very same residence as these workforce.

If you are not guaranteed if you are eligible for this contest (for instance, if you’re getting a hole 12 months), remember to see our more detailed eligibility policies.

My essay was posted in my university newspaper. Can I post it to this contest?

No. We question that your essay be initial for this contest. Make sure you never submit nearly anything you have currently posted at the time of submission, irrespective of whether in a school newspaper, for one more contest or anywhere else.

Do I need to have a Operates Cited web page?

Sure. We give you with a different subject to checklist the resources you utilized to generate your essay. You’re authorized to structure your record nevertheless you want we will not decide your entry dependent on formatting in this segment. Inner citations are not needed.

Can I have somebody else look at my get the job done?

We comprehend that college students will normally revise their work based on feedback from teachers and friends. That is allowed for this contest. On the other hand, be guaranteed that the final submission displays the strategies, voice and producing capability of the scholar, not another person else.

Who can I make contact with if I have issues about this contest or am possessing problems publishing my entry?

Go away a remark on this submit or generate to us at LNFeedback@nytimes.com.


I’m a instructor. What methods do you have to enable me educate with this contest?

Begin with our unit plan for informational writing. It consists of creating prompts, mentor texts and lesson strategies that can assist this contest.

You could also invite your students to read the winners of final year’s contest to get inspiration for their very own do the job.

Do my students will need a New York Occasions membership to accessibility these assets?

No. All of the methods on The Finding out Network are absolutely free.

If your students do not have a subscription to The New York Situations, they can also get entry to Moments parts via The Understanding Network. All the routines for students on our web page, including mentor texts and writing prompts, as well as the Periods article content they link to, are totally free. Learners can research for article content working with the look for tool on our dwelling web site. In the relaxation of The Moments, they can accessibility up to five free of charge posts a month.

How do my pupils demonstrate to me that they entered this contest?

Just after they submit their essays, college students should get an email from The New York Times with the matter heading “Thank you for your submission to our STEM Writing Contest,” which they can ahead to you to present their entry has been approved.

This contest is a collaboration with the Modern society for Science & the Public, publisher of Science News, a source of impartial nonprofit journalism on the most current in science, drugs and know-how considering that 1921, Science News for Learners and the Science News in Significant Colleges program.