New Year Contest Opportunities 

Posted December 11, 2020 by Jessica Fahrenholtz

With the new year comes a whole new opportunity to set goals and take decisive action towards making this year your best one yet. One of the best ways to extend learning, add impressive accomplishments to a college application, and get real-life experience is to participate in academic challenges. 


These four ICS partnered or managed competitions are just as fun as they are educational, and enrollment will be open into the new year. Check them out, and don’t forget to jot your favorites down in your calendar. Using an ICS Premium account you can track all of your academic competition deadlines directly through your ICS Dashboard. 


Rube Goldberg Machine Contest– This academic competition is a fan favorite because it is loads of fun. A Rube Goldberg machine is an over the top invention that accomplishes a simple task in the most outrageous way possible. This is a challenge that requires students to think outside the box, get creative, and use what they find lying around the house to construct a silly yet functional piece of machinery. Participants will also put their problem-solving skills to the test and learn to adapt as they build. Joining this academic competition is sure to bring hours of educational fun for the whole family.


Mathworks Math Modeling Challenge– This competition is internet-based. Participants will compete in teams to solve an open-ended math modeling problem. One of the best parts of this competition is that the math problems focus on solving real-world issues, and students must solve their equations within 14 hours. This is an excellent way for students to learn to work under pressure in a fun environment. Top teams will earn scholarship money, and there is no fee to sign up.


Future Problem-Solving Program– This academic competition is open to students in grades 4-12. It encourages them to look at the world’s problems and apply their creativity and critical thinking skills to develop a better plan for the future. There are four components to this competition, and participants can choose to complete one or all four. These four categories include community problem solving, global issues problem solving, scenario writing, and scenario performance. These four components will give participants an in-depth experience of looking at issues on a local and international scale, planning to solve them, and then taking action. The Future Problem Solving Program teaches skills students will use in the real world as they grow into college and career readiness.


Plant the Moon Challenge– This challenge is inspired by NASA and offers an exciting experiment for students in 6-12th grade. Participants will get a kit from NASA containing lunar mare soil simulant. This simulant is specially designed to mimic the soil on the moon. The purpose of this challenge is to grow a crop using the same soil found on the moon. This experiment’s results will be shared with NASA scientists and other professional, scientific evaluators who will select the winners.


Virtual Supreme Court – this challenge puts students in the highest judicial chair of our country. Teams of students review a competition brief and make arguments either as the petitioner or respondents. This is an amazing opportunity for students to learn how the judicial branch of our government works at the highest level. Registration for the Virtual Supreme court is through the ICS platform and is open through the end of February, 2021.


Academic competitions are quickly becoming popular with educators, students, and parents alike. They are a fantastic way to foster a love of learning, teach real-life problem-solving skills, and get kids to participate in hands-on projects. Adding an academic competition to your list of things to do in the new year is a great way to boost your learning and have a little fun in the process.


Ready to sign up for one of these exciting competitions? Head to our competitions page to see what academic competitions are coming up. Set up your account to follow competitions that excite you and stay up-to-date on all the news with academic competitions.


Upgrade to a premium account so you can track your progress in competitions, get insider information on academic competitions, access the ICS competitions concierge, and gain exclusive discounts on ICS-managed programs.