Fun STEM Challenges to Wrap Up the School Year

Posted February 10, 2021 by Jessica Fahrenholtz

As students pass the school year’s halfway mark, some may already be setting their sights on the end of the year and summer vacation. However, there is still plenty left to learn in the coming months. That is why many parents and educators are turning to fun academic competitions to help keep their students engaged and learning in an exciting and hands-on way. Check out these fin STEM challenges to wrap up the school year. 

The Rube Goldberg Machine Contest

This academic competition is a fun way to get kids thinking. Participants are challenged with creating an overcomplicated machine to solve an extremely simple problem. They are also tasked with only using items that they find lying around in your construction. Students are encouraged to have fun and think outside of the box, making this the ultimate fun challenge. In the past years, students have come up with everything from machines that turn pages to complicated apparatuses that pour a glass of lemonade. The Rube Goldberg Machine Contest is also a favorite amongst teachers and students alike because it gives students the chance to bring an idea from imagination to a functional machine. If you are interested in competing in this year’s Rube Goldberg Machine Contest, there’s still time, but do not wait; registration closes on March 3, 2021. 

Autonomous Aerial Vehicle Tournament

Open to students from K-12th grade, this academic competition is designed to encourage a love of autonomous robot education. Participants will use drones to complete the assigned tasks. They will do so by programing their drones to perform in a live on-site tournament to see whose drone comes out on top. This academic competition is as fun as it is educational, and it is a great way to keep students engaged and eager to learn.

Best Robotics Challenge

This academic challenge allows kids to design and build a robot that they then use in competition. Once created, students will bring their robots to compete with others from around the country on a specially designed field. They will have to avoid obstacles and complete challenges in a tournament-style setting, much like a video game that has come to life.


This competition brings the benefits of team sports to robotics. Students must build an autonomous robot that they can program to represent their team on tournament day. This unique ask gives students the experience of building and programming a robot and developing a sophisticated strategy that can be communicated using artificial intelligence. These are all real-world skills that will be incredibly useful for students as they head into college and careers taught in an unbelievably fun and hands-on way.

Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge

This academic challenge is known as the nation’s premier science competition for students in grades 5-8. Students will first identify a problem that directly affects them, their family, or their community. After a problem has been chosen, the students will work on a solution. Students will then record a 1–2 minute video presenting their ideas to the judges. This competition is great because it encourages students to think about problems that affect them and shows them their power to make their communities a better place.

These academic competitions are a fun way to keep kids motivated and engaged through the end of the school year and encourage them to think outside the box and acknowledge their own potential.

If you are interested in signing up for any of these academic challenges or learning about others, 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.

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