170 teams from across the country challenged themselves with qualifying scenarios in the 2019-20 MTF Challenge. This past week The Actuarial Foundation announced the 98 teams that qualified for the project phase of the challenge! These teams have completed one or more intense qualifying scenarios to move forward. Each scenario challenged students to analyze real-world data and respond to questions including statistical analysis, trend projections, risk identification, and critical-thinking.

The qualified teams are now being connected with actuary mentors through The Actuarial Foundation’s network of volunteers. These teams will have until the end of February to complete their own modeling the future project and present a report on how they expect climate change or water access to impact the future of agriculture! See if a team from your state qualified in the list below, and don’t forget to check out the Modeling the Future Challenge website on how you can join the challenge to help model the future next year!


2019-20 MTF Challenge Qualifying Teams:

Team Name School or Organization City, State
Acton Boxborough Team Acton Boxborough Regional High School Acton, MA
NDBeSmarTigers Notre Dame High School Belmont, CA
Mathmagicians Whitney High School Cerritos, CA
Accurate Actuary Whitney High School Cerritos, CA
Math Modelling Hamilton High School Chandler, AZ
Payton – Team 2 Walter Payton College Prep (Chicago Public Schools) Chicago, IL
Payton – Team 1 Walter Payton College Prep (Chicago Public Schools) Chicago, IL
Cream of the Crop Student Team Clarkstown, NY
Blue Devil Hedge Columbus High School Columbus, GA
CHS Visionaries Columbus High School Columbus, GA
Squad-ratics iSTEM Geauga Early College High School Concord Township, OH
Minute Men iSTEM Geauga Early College High School Concord Township, OH
High Voltage iSTEM Geauga Early College High School Concord Township, OH
Alge-bros iSTEM Geauga Early College High School Concord Township, OH
10% Rule Monta Vista High School Cupertino, CA
Science Bound Science Bound Des Moines, IA
Central Academy A Central Academy Des Moines, IA
Central Academy B Central Academy Des Moines, IA
Unicorn 5 NC School of Science and Mathematics Durham, NC
Unicorn 1 NC School of Science and Mathematics Durham, NC
Unicorn 4 NC School of Science and Mathematics Durham, NC
Purple Potato Donkey NC School of Science and Mathematics Durham, NC
HHS Streaks! Harrisonburg High School Harrisonburg, VA
Falcons Kalani High School Honolulu, HI
Dolphins R Us Arkansas School for Mathematics and Science Hot Springs, AR
ASMSA Arkansas School for Mathematics and Science Hot Springs, AR
Booravo Booravo Irvine, CA
Paxon Eagle Paxon School for Advanced Studies Jacksonville, FL
Paxon Paxon School for Advanced Studies Jacksonville, FL
Jericho A Jericho High School Jericho, NY
Jericho B Jericho High School Jericho, NY
Don’t Spill The Beans Kalaheo High School Kailua, HI
[redacted] Consulting Kalaheo High School Kailua, HI
GSMST-Team 3-5 GSMST Lawrenceville, GA
GSMST-Team 3-3 GSMST Lawrenceville, GA
GSMST-Team 7-10 GSMST Lawrenceville, GA
GSMST-3-2 GSMST Lawrenceville, GA
GSMST-Team 3-1 GSMST Lawrenceville, GA
GSMST-Team 7-11 GSMST Lawrenceville, GA
GSMST-Team 3-7 GSMST Lawrenceville, GA
GSMST-Team 3-4 GSMST Lawrenceville, GA
Atoms High Technology High School Lincroft, NJ
LAHS Team A LAHS Math Modeling Club Los Altos, CA
LAHS Team B LAHS Math Modeling Club Los Altos, CA
MVHS Math Modeling #2 Mountain View High School Math Modeling Club Los Altos, CA
Alphabeta North Hollywood High School Los Angeles, CA
Math Matters Milton High School Milton, GA
Mathigators Everglades High School / Miami Dade College Miramar, FL
Mountain View High Math Modeling Team Mountain View High School Math Modeling Club Mountain View, CA
Team Rocket Hunter College High School New York, NY
team pepe Hunter College High School New York, NY
HCHS Hunter College High School New York, NY
Glenbrook North 1 Glenbrook North High School Northbrook, IL
Wheatley WildCalcs The Wheatley School Old Westbury, NY
Casti Corn Castilleja School Palo Alto, CA
The Bean Team Castilleja School Palo Alto, CA
ESAD Castilleja School Palo Alto, CA
Wayzata Blue Wayzata High School PLYMOUTH, MN
Wayzata Gold Wayzata High School PLYMOUTH, MN
Five Guys Burgers and Math Richard Montgomery High School Potomac, MD
🙂 Richard Montgomery High School Potomac, MD
Bulldog Warriors Winston Churchill High School Potomac, MD
Perfectly Phat Pandas Wootton High School Potomac, MD
Green Independent Redmond, WA
Cutwrongs Maggie Walker Governors School Richmond, VA
Calcoholics Maggie Walker Governors School Richmond, VA
The Wurst Maggie Walker Governors School Richmond, VA
McGERM!! Maggie Walker Governors School Richmond, VA
Crystal Math Maggie Walker Governors School Richmond, VA
Joshua n’ Co. Maggie Walker Governors School Richmond, VA
Zim Boys Never Broke Maggie Walker Governors School Richmond, VA
America’s Next Math Models Lick-Wilmerding High School San Francisco, CA
Tigers Lick-Wilmerding High School San Francisco, CA
Lick-Wilmodeling Lick-Wilmerding High School San Francisco, CA
√-1 2^3 ∑ Π (I Ate Some Pie) Lick-Wilmerding High School San Francisco, CA
Proof School Proof School San Francisco, CA
St. Ignatius Blue St. Ignatius College Preparatory San Francisco, CA
ZOOM East Side Union High School San Jose, CA
MANEssentials East Side Union High School San Jose, CA
Team Darius East Side Union High School San Jose, CA
Static Function Santa Teresa High School San Jose, CA
QLS Math Quarry Lane School San Ramon, CA
Team Geicko West Ranch High School Santa Clarita, CA
Team REKT West Ranch High School Santa Clarita, CA
Maria Carrillo Pumaths Maria Carrillo High School Santa Rosa, CA
Zoomers Academy for Information Technology Scotch Plains, NJ
Cookies ‘n Cream Academy for Information Technology Scotch Plains, NJ
Water Academy for Information Technology Scotch Plains, NJ
SuperBoyz Academy for Information Technology Scotch Plains, NJ
1blair Montgomery Blair High School Silver Spring, MD
Waukee APEX – Foxtrot Waukee APEX Waukee, IA
Waukee APEX – Tango Waukee APEX Waukee, IA
Westtown 3 Westtown School West Chester, PA
Westtown Moose 1 Westtown School West Chester, PA
Westlake Modeling Connecting for Kids Westlake, OH
Differentiation Nation Yorkville High School Yorkville, IL
Team Stemmet Yorkville High School Yorkville, IL

After its first two years, the race is heating up in crowning the country’s young actuarial champions. Actuaries are at the front lines of major business decisions analyzing data to help project future trends, identify risks and provide recommendations to business leaders about how to best adapt to the expected changes. The Modeling the Future Challenge (MTF) trains high school students in applying their mathematical skills to project future trends and solve real-world problems. However, this challenge is not easy.

Typical math modeling competitions focus on learning how to model systems – what we consider Level 1 modeling competitions. The MTF Challenge takes this two steps further asking students to not only be able to model a system, but to understand how the system will change over time (Level 2), and to understand what that means for people affected by the change and to recommend how they can adapt to it (Level 3).

To be crowned a Modeling the Future Champion, students have to first qualify for the main competition by responding to a set of scenario response topics in the fall semester. Qualified teams are then invited to the main competition in the spring semester where they are matched with an actuary mentor and create their own mathematical model using real-world data to project future change. As the final piece of their project, teams must also present recommendations for how affected organizations should adapt to that change.

Get Resources for the 2019-20 MTF Challenge!

In the competition’s first year, 2017-18, 140 students competed on 52 teams to be crowned Modeling the Future Champions. In the 2018-19 challenge that concluded this past April, 873 students competed on 191 teams for the championship. The table below provides a summary of how the results played out each year.


Only being two years into the challenge, it’s hard to identify trends in which schools, or states are standing out in the hunt to crown America’s top young actuarial scholars; however, there are some interesting insights in looking at who made it to the finals these first two years. First of all, California students have led the pack in the sheer number of awards - taking 2nd place and one finalist spot in the first year, and pulling in the top award and another finalist spot in the second year. Not only were these teams from California, but all four of them were from the San Francisco Bay area. This is by far the strongest showing of any metropolitan region in the competition. The next best performing state was Iowa having a 4th place and finalist team finishing each year.

Examining the school level, we can see that there are a few high schools of note. These schools have made an impression in just two years of the competition:


North Carolina School for Science and Mathematics

Even though they did not place in the finals during the second year of the challenge, we cannot discount the ability of the students at this Durham, North Carolina school to take on the actuarial competition and win. Taking first place in the 2017-18 challenge certainly showed their prowess in understanding math modeling and being able to analyze the associated risks from their projections. We look forward to seeing how NCSSM bounces back in the 2019-20 Challenge.


Los Altos High School

Like NCSSM, Los Altos High School students, from Los Altos, California, have demonstrated their ability to come out on top of the actuarial challenge. In the first year of the MTF Challenge in 2018, Los Altos High School was not yet participating in the competition. Could their win in 2019 be the start to a multi-year run for the championship?


Waukee APEX

This high school from Waukee, Iowa was the only school to have a team reach the finals in both years. Not only did their teams reach the finals, but both years Waukee APEX had a team finish on the podium taking 4th place. Given their strong performance over the first two years of the MTF Challenge, we can certainly expect Waukee APEX to be a contender to look out for in future years.


Maggie Walker Governor’s School

Although they did not place in the finals the first year of the competition, this school from Richmond, Virginia came out strong in the 2018-19 challenge with two out of their eight qualified teams reaching the final competition and both of those teams making it to the podium achieving 2nd and 3rd place respectively. This is a school to keep a keen eye on for the 2019-20 challenge.


The growth in the Modeling the Future Challenge in just its first two years is a testament to the power this competition has to engage and inspire students. “Actuarial Science is a topic that has traditionally been under the radar for students,” said Jason Leppin, executive director of The Actuarial Foundation. “Many students and teachers don’t realize that actuaries use math all the time to help business leaders make some of the most important decisions about the future of their organizations. The Modeling the Future Challenge is our way of demonstrating that math can take you into amazing careers that have a real impact on how we make decisions about the future! And as we can see from our first two years, the students are definitely responding well to the Challenge!”

With two years under the belt, it’s hard to make sweeping statements about which schools are outstanding outliers in actuarial science. Our analysis of the leading schools from the first two years of the challenge doesn’t necessarily mean that these are the schools to beat in next year’s competition. Many schools are still learning about the Modeling the Future Challenge, and the 2019-20 MTF Champions could be from anywhere!

If you are involved with a high school mathematics program and want to learn more about how to participate in the 2019-20 Modeling the Future Challenge, make sure to sign up for the email newsletter here.

Each year, thousands and thousands of students challenge themselves in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) academic competitions. And each year it seems that more and more student competitions are coming out in science, technology, engineering, and math, but also writing, literature, critical thinking, problem solving, debate, and many other fields. This makes it more difficult to understand where to put your time in pursuing academic competitions. With limited time and limited resources it can be hard for parents, educators, and students to know which competitions to take on or even what educational competitions are out there!

At the Institute of Competition Sciences we try to make it easy for parents, educators, and students to navigate the world of academic competitions. We track competitions and try to stay up on their deadlines and information so you have a comprehensive source to understand what you want to do when. The list below describes many competitions in the STEM arena; however, even this massive list just touches on what’s actually available. For the best information, we recommend searching for competitions using our online database. This lets you filter competitions based on specific keywords or eligibility criteria to find just the ones you are interested in. This will be the best way to navigate the complex industry of academic competitions.

Also, make sure you get your own free ICS account so you can track and follow the competitions that are interesting to you! But, if you just want to do a quick read through some of the top competitions that are out there, check out our list below.

Groups of STEM competitions: Science Fairs and Research Competitions, Robotics and Engineering Competitions, Math Competitions, Coding and App Competitions, STEM Bees and Bowls, and general STEM related competitions.


Science Fairs and Research Competitions


Google Science Fair, This online science competition is open to students between the ages of 13 and 18 from anywhere in the world, working alone or in teams. Google is looking for extraordinary ideas, and they are eager to see what youth come up with. This is a great opportunity for teenagers to explore ideas they’re passionate about, learn about science, and maybe produce a world-changing idea.

Who: high school students

Learn more and follow this competition on your ICS account: https://www.competitionsciences.org/competitions/google-science-fair/


Regeneron Science Talent Search, The Regeneron Science Talent Search (formerly Intel STS) is the nation’s most prestigious science research competition for high school seniors. Since 1942, the Science Talent Search has provided a national stage for the country’s best and brightest young scientists to present original research to nationally recognized professional scientists.

Who: High school students

Learn more and follow this competition on your ICS account: https://www.competitionsciences.org/competitions/regeneron-science-talent-search-sts/


Broadcom MASTERS, Targeted at middle school students in grades 6th-8th, the Broadcom MASTERS is a national science, technology, engineering, and math competition that encourages the nation’s young scientists, engineers and innovators.

Who: Middle school students

Learn more and follow this competition on your ICS account: https://www.competitionsciences.org/competitions/broadcom-masters/


Junior Science and Humanities Symposium, High school students may apply to compete for scholarships and recognition by present­ing the results of their STEM projects before a panel of judges and an audience of their peers. Opportunities for hands-on workshops, panel discussions, career exploration, research lab visits and networking benefit participating students. JSHS regional symposia are held at 48 nationwide university campuses and serve students in the 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the DoD Dependents Schools, Europe and Pacific.

Who: High school students

Learn more and follow this competition on your ICS account: https://www.competitionsciences.org/competitions/junior-science-and-humanities-symposium/sw-region-junior-science-humanities-symposium-jshs/


Stockholm Junior Water Prize, This international competition, modeled after the adult Stockholm Water Prize, encourages enthusiasm in today’s youth about water issues and builds an international community of young scientists bonded together for the water environment. High school students who have conducted water-related science projects are encouraged to apply for the opportunity to share their research and win a $10,000 scholarship. Projects should be aimed at enhancing the quality of life through improvement of water quality, water resource management, or water and wastewater treatment. The projects may explore water issues on a local, regional, national, or global level using a research-oriented approach.

Who: High school students

Learn more and follow this competition on your ICS account: https://www.competitionsciences.org/competitions/stockholm-junior-water-prize/


iGEM, The iGEM competition is an annual, world-wide, synthetic biology event aimed at undergraduate university students, as well as high school and graduate students. Multidisciplinary teams work all summer long to build genetically engineered systems using standard biological parts called BioBricks. iGEM teams work inside and outside the lab, creating sophisticated projects that strive to create a positive contribution to their communities and the world.

Who: High School, Undergraduate, Graduate

Learn more and follow this competition on your ICS account: https://www.competitionsciences.org/competitions/igem-genetically-engineered-machines/


BioGENEius Challenges, compete on an international stage with some of the brightest scientific minds in the world. Students are challenged to develop scientific research projects in three overarching areas, Global Healthcare, Global Sustainability, and Global Environment. Then students present their work to industry innovators currently transforming the scientific landscape.

Who: high school students

Learn more and follow this competition on your ICS account: https://www.competitionsciences.org/competitions/biogeneius-challenges/



Robotics and Engineering Design Challenges


FIRST Competitions, unless you’ve been under a rock the last 10 years, you’ve probably heard of FIRST. Under strict rules, limited resources, and an intense six-week time limit, teams of students are challenged to raise funds, design a team "brand," hone teamwork skills, and build and program industrial-size robots to play a difficult field game against like-minded competitors. It’s as close to real-world engineering as a student can get. Although the Robotics Competition is for high school students, FIRST also includes other competitions for elementary and middle school students.

Who: elementary, middle, and high school

Learn more and follow these competitions on your ICS account: https://www.competitionsciences.org/competitions/first-robotics-competition/


Botball, The Botball® Educational Robotics Program engages middle and high school aged students in a team-oriented robotics competition, and serves as a perfect way to meet today’s new common core standards. In Botball, the robots are always autonomous! Botball gives students the tools to develop sophisticated strategies using artificial intelligence with embedded systems. Students will learn to program their robots in advance using C, C++, and Java and then compete in tournaments to see how their robots perform against others.

Who: Middle and high school students

Learn more and follow this competition on your ICS account: https://www.competitionsciences.org/competitions/botball/


Junior Solar Sprint, JSS is an educational program for 5th through 8th grade students with the goal of creating the fastest, most interesting, and best crafted solar-vehicle possible. Students will design, build and race solar powered cars using hands-on engineering skills and principles of science and math, develop teamwork and problem solving abilities, investigate environmental issues, and gain hands-on STEM skills.


Best Robotics Competition, The Best Robotics Competition challenges students to design robots that perform on a specially designed field with obstacles and tasks in a tournament style setting. New educational theme/challenge and field each year. The challenge and field are kept secret until Kick Off Day.

Who: Middle and high school students

Learn more and follow this competition on your ICS account: https://www.competitionsciences.org/competitions/best-robotics-challenge/


Vex Robotics Competition, the largest and fastest growing middle school and high school robotics program globally with more than 18,000 teams from 40 countries playing in over 1,350 competitions worldwide. Each year, an exciting engineering challenge is presented in the form of a game. Students, with guidance from their teachers and mentors, build innovative robots and compete year-round.

Who: high school students

Learn more and follow the Vex Competitions on your ICS account: https://www.competitionsciences.org/competitions/vex-robotics-competition/


Zero Robotics, Zero Robotics is a robotics programming competition where the robots are SPHERES (Synchronized Position Hold Engage and Reorient Experimental Satellites) inside the International Space Station. The competition starts online, on this website, where teams program the SPHERES to solve an annual challenge. After several phases of virtual competition in a simulation environment that mimics the real SPHERES, finalists are selected to compete in a live championship aboard the ISS. An astronaut will conduct the championship competition in microgravity with a live broadcast!

Who: high school students

Learn more and follow Zero Robotics on your ICS account: https://www.competitionsciences.org/competitions/zero-robotics/



Mathematics Competitions


Modeling the Future Challenge, The Modeling the Future Challenge asks high school students to use mathematics and real-world data to predict how a new technology could change the future! The Challenge helps students learn data analytics, mathematical modeling, and actuarial science. By competing in the MTF Challenge students learn to analyze data and create mathematical models to predict what will happen in the future based on that data. Each year a technology theme is selected in which students identify and characterize one way they think the technology will change the future.

Who: high school students

Learn more and follow the Modeling the Future Challenge on your ICS account: https://www.competitionsciences.org/competitions/2018-19-modeling-the-future-challenge/


American Mathematics Competitions, the Mathematics Association of America hosts a series of mathematics tournaments and competitions for middle and high school students that’s over 60 years old! There are three levels of competition: the AMC-8 (middle school students), AMC-10 (grades 9 and 10), AMC-12 (grades 11 and 12).

Who: middle and high school students

Learn more and follow this competition on your ICS account: https://www.competitionsciences.org/competitions/american-mathematics-competition-10/


American Regions Math League, ARML is the World Series of mathematics competitions. The contest is written for high school students, although some exceptional junior high students attend each year. The competition consists of several events, which include a team round, a power question (in which a team solves proof-oriented questions), an individual round, two relay rounds (in which a contestant solves a problem and passes his/her answer to another team member, who uses this answer to solve another problem), and a super relay.

Who: high school students

Learn more and follow this competition on your ICS account: https://www.competitionsciences.org/competitions/american-regions-mathematics-league/


AoCMM Math Modeling Competition,  The AoCMM math modeling competition for high school and college students provides the perfect opportunity to use your interest and skills in math modeling in a friendly competitive environment. Along with the development of skills in networking, communication, and teamwork,  there are plenty of prestigious prizes to be won! Additionally, constructive feedback from our judges is designed to help you continue to extend your skills personally and for potential careers. Furthermore, this competition is ideal for people with any level of math modeling experience!

Who: high school students

Learn more and follow this competition on your ICS account: https://www.competitionsciences.org/competitions/aocmm-math-modeling-competition/


Caribou Mathematics Contest, The Caribou Mathematics Competition is a world-wide online contest that is held six times throughout the school year. Each of these days, five contests are offered, one for each of the grade levels 3/4, 5/6, 7/8, 9/10 and 11/12 and each one in English, French and Persian. The Caribou Cup is the series of all Caribou Contests in one school year. Each student's ranking in the Caribou Cup is determined by their performance in their best 5 of 6 contests through the school year.

Who: elementary, middle, and high school students.

Learn more and follow this competition on your ICS account: https://www.competitionsciences.org/competitions/caribou-mathematics-competition/


Harvard MIT Mathematics Tournament, one of the largest and most prestigious high school competitions in the world. Each tournament draws close to 1000 students from around the globe, including top scorers at national and international olympiads. HMMT is entirely student-organized, by students at Harvard, MIT, and nearby schools, many of whom are HMMT alumni themselves.

Who: high school students

Learn more and follow this tournament on your ICS account: https://www.competitionsciences.org/competitions/harvard-mit-mathematics-tournament/


MathCounts Competition Series, the MATHCOUNTS Competition Series is a national program that provides students the opportunity to compete in live, in-person contests against and alongside their peers. The Competition Series has 4 levels of competition—school, chapter, state and national. Each level of competition is comprised of 4 rounds—Sprint, Target, Team and Countdown Round. Altogether the rounds are designed to take about 3 hours to complete.

Who: Middle school students.

Learn more and follow this competition on your ICS account: https://www.competitionsciences.org/competitions/mathcounts-competition-series/


Mathworks Math Modeling Challenge, an Internet-based applied math competition for high school juniors and seniors known for inspiring them to pursue STEM majors and careers. Working in teams of three to five, participants solve an open-ended, math-modeling problem focused on a realistic issue – in 14 hours. The contest, organized by Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) and sponsored by leading software developer MathWorks, is free and open to all U.S. students and will award top teams this year with $100,000 in scholarships toward the pursuit of higher education.

Who: high school students

Learn more and follow this contest on your ICS account: https://www.competitionsciences.org/competitions/mathworks-math-modeling-challenge/


COMAP High school Mathematics Contest in Modeling, work as team members in a contest that will stimulate and improve their problem solving and writing skills. This competition takes place with your teams-consisting of up to four students-working on a real-world problem for a consecutive thirty-six hour period. Teams are allowed to work on the contest problem at any available facility and then submit their Solution Papers to COMAP for centralized judging.

Who: high school students

Learn more and follow this contest on your ICS account: https://www.competitionsciences.org/competitions/high-school-mathematics-contest-in-modeling/



Coding, Apps, and Video Game Development Challenges


STEM Video Game Challenge, This national competition motivates interest in STEM learning among America’s youth by tapping into students’ natural passion for playing and making video games.

Who: Middle and High School students.

Learn more and follow this competition on your ICS account: https://www.competitionsciences.org/competitions/national-stem-video-game-challenge/


Congressional App Challenge, high school students must code and build an app of their choice. The apps are judged in district-wide competitions hosted by Members of Congress.

Who: High school students.


American Computer Science League, ACSL organizes computer science contests and computer programming contests for elementary, junior, and senior high school students. Each year of the contest, ACSL will send each team advisor an ACSL Category Description Booklet. The booklet contains the rules for each category and some sample problems and solutions. Team advisors will use the booklet and other sample problems to prepare students for the short answer test.

Who: elementary, middle and high school students

Learn more and follow this competition on your ICS account: https://www.competitionsciences.org/competitions/american-computer-science-league/


CyberPatriot, At the center of CyberPatriot is the National Youth Cyber Defense Competition. The competition puts teams of high school and middle school students in the position of newly hired IT professionals tasked with managing the network of a small company. In the rounds of competition, teams are given a set of virtual images that represent operating systems and are tasked with finding cybersecurity vulnerabilities within the images and hardening the system while maintaining critical services.

Who: Middle and high school students

Learn more and follow this competition on your ICS account: https://www.competitionsciences.org/competitions/cyberpatriot/



Quiz Bowls, Bees, and Knowledge Competitions


Future Problem Solving Program Challenges, What is FPSPI? Future Problem Solving Program International provides the tools and strategies students need to face the challenges of today and the future. FPSPI is a dynamic international program involving thousands of students annually from around the world. Developed in 1974 by creativity pioneer Dr. E. Paul Torrance, Future Problem Solving (FPS) provides competitive and non-competitive components for today’s curriculum via a six-step model which teaches critical and creative thinking, problem solving, and decision making.

Who: elementary, middle and high school students

Learn more and follow the FPSPI Challenges on your ICS account: https://www.competitionsciences.org/competitions/future-problem-solving-program-global-issues-problem-solving/


Genius Olympiad, an international high school project competition about environmental issues. It is founded and organized by the Terra Science and Education and hosted by the State University of New York at Oswego. GENIUS Olympiad will host projects in five general disciplines with an environmental focus: Science, Visual and Performance Arts, Business, Writing, and Robotics. Projects in each category take different forms, but all fall within the environmental issues themes.

Who: high school students

Learn more and follow this competition on your ICS account: https://www.competitionsciences.org/competitions/genius-olympiad/


Science Olympiad, Science Olympiad's ever-changing line-up of events in all STEM disciplines exposes students to practicing scientists and career choices, and energizes classroom teachers with a dynamic content experience.

Who: elementary, middle, and high school students

Learn more and follow science Olympiad on your ICS account: https://www.competitionsciences.org/competitions/science-olympiad/


Physics Bowl, Each year, approximately 10,000 students take a 40-question, 45-minute timed, multiple-choice test under their school’s supervision. Exam questions are based on topics and concepts covered in a typical high school physics course.   To enhance the distribution of awards, Division I is for first-year physics students and Division II is for second-year physics students.

Who: High school students

Learn more and follow the Physics Bowl on your ICS Account: https://www.competitionsciences.org/competitions/physicsbowl/


You Be the Chemist, The Challenge begins with students completing the Challenge Qualifier, a short multiple choice test provided by CEF and administered by educators and/or Organizers. Based on student participation in a Local Challenge site and/or state, a select number of students will advance to the next level of competition. Local and State Challenge competitions operate in a quiz bowl format with several rounds of multiple choice questions. Questions are displayed to both the participants and audience on a screen, then students use electronic response devices to indicate their answers. Students participate individually in the Challenge competitions.

Who: elementary and middle school students

Learn more and follow You be the Chemist on your ICS account: https://www.competitionsciences.org/competitions/you-be-the-chemist-challenge/


National Science Bowl, The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Science Bowl® is a nationwide academic competition that tests students’ knowledge in all areas of science and mathematics. Middle and high school student teams from diverse backgrounds are comprised of four students, one alternate, and a teacher who serves as an advisor and coach. These teams face-off in a fast-paced question-and-answer format, being tested on a range of science disciplines including biology, chemistry, Earth science, physics, energy, and math. Beginning in January 2018, more than 9,000 high school students and 4,500 middle school students will compete in 65 high school and 50 middle school regional Science Bowl tournaments.

Who: middle and high school students

Learn more and follow the Science Bowl on your ICS account: https://www.competitionsciences.org/competitions/national-science-bowl-us-dept-of-energy/


National Ocean Sciences Bowl, an academic competition and program that addresses a national gap in environmental and earth sciences in public education by introducing high school students to and engaging them in ocean science, preparing them for ocean science-related and other STEM careers, and helping them become knowledgeable citizens and environmental stewards. The NOSB’s focus on ocean science education is important. Humans rely on a healthy ocean for oxygen, resources, jobs, and more. Our future leaders must be knowledgeable about ocean issues. The ocean is an ideal interdisciplinary teaching tool for science, technology, education, and mathematics (STEM) that puts study in a real world context.

Who: high school students

Learn more and follow NOSB on your ICS account: https://www.competitionsciences.org/competitions/national-ocean-sciences-bowl/



Other STEM Related Competitions


eCYBERMISSION, For sixth to ninth grade students, eCYBERMISSION is a web-based STEM competition that enables all students to recognize real-life applications of STEM. Teams of three or four students are instructed to ask questions (for science) or define problems (for engineering), and then construct explanations (for science) or design solutions (for engineering) based on identified problems in their community.

Who: middle school and high school freshmen

Learn more and follow this challenge on your ICS account: https://www.competitionsciences.org/competitions/ecybermission/


ExploraVision, a science competition that encourages students to study a technology of interest and predict what it might look like 20 years from now. Students are encouraged to work in groups of 2-4 students and must be sponsored by a teacher.

Who: elementary, middle and high school students

Learn more and follow this competition on your ICS account: https://www.competitionsciences.org/competitions/exploravision/


Destination Imagination, open to all kindergarten through university level students worldwide. Students form teams of up to 7 members, select their preferred Challenge and work together to develop a solution to the Challenge. Each team has at least one Team Manager (often a parent or teacher) who helps keep the team on track, but does not assist or interfere with the team’s project. Destination Imagination offers seven engaging Challenges in STEAM education: Technical, Scientific, Fine Arts, Improvisational, Engineering, Service Learning and Early Learning.

Who: elementary, middle, high school, and undergraduate students

Learn more and follow this competition on your ICS account: http://www.competitionsciences.org/competitions/destination-imagination


Discovery 3M Young Scientist Challenge, students identify a solution to an everyday problem that directly impacts them, their families, their communities, and/or the global population. The idea must be a new innovation or solution, and cannot simply be a behavioral change or a new use for an existing product. The student must create a one- to two- minute video that explains the problem and how it impacts them, their families, their communities and/or the global population; describes a new innovation or solution that could impact or solve the problem; explains the science, technology, engineering and/or mathematics behind their innovation; and illustrates how their innovation could both address the everyday problem they've identified and have a broader impact locally or globally.

Who: Middle school students

Learn more and follow this competition on your ICS account: https://www.competitionsciences.org/competitions/discovery-education-3m-young-scientist-challenge/


DNA Day Essay Contest, This contest hosts a question each year that aims to cover a current topic in genetics that may not be covered in biology class. Students are encouraged to work with their science and language arts teachers. Essays should be 750 words maximum. Winners and honorable mentions are announced on DNA Day, April 25, 2019. This contest is open to students in grades 9-12 worldwide and asks students to examine, question, and reflect on important concepts in genetics. Essays are expected to be well-reasoned arguments indicative of a depth of understanding of the concepts related to the essay question.

Who: high school students

Learn more and follow this competition on your ICS account: https://www.competitionsciences.org/competitions/dna-day-essay-contest/


Engineer Girl Essay Contest, Every year, the EngineerGirl website sponsors a contest dealing with engineering and its impact on our world.  Usually the announcement is posted in the fall with judging and winners announced in the spring or summer. Each year the topic of the contest changes.

Who: elementary, middle and high school students

Learn more and follow this competition on your ICS account: https://www.competitionsciences.org/competitions/engineer-girl-essay-contest/


Future City Competition, this challenge asks students how can we make the world a better place? To answer it, 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students imagine, research, design, and build cities of the future that showcase their solution to a citywide sustainability issue. Past topics include stormwater management, urban agriculture, and green energy.

Who: Middle school students

Learn more and follow this competition on your ICS account: https://www.competitionsciences.org/competitions/future-city/



Even though this is a MASSIVE list of educational competitions in the STEM arenas, it is not complete. There are hundreds of STEM related competitions. Some in robotics and engineering, some taking the form of bees or bowls, some asking students to submit videos or essays about STEM, and some in just about every area of STEM you could be interested in. The Institute of Competition Sciences does the best we can to keep track of all of these competitions and their deadlines for you; but even we can miss some things. If you come across a competition that is not on our lists that you think should be, or if there is information that is incorrect, please let us know!

And make sure to get you ICS account so you can track and follow the competitions that are important to you!

Everyone knows the classic game of Rock, Paper, Scissors (RPS). It seems like it has been around since before time itself. Part of the fun of RPS is in the challenge to try and find patterns in what your opponents will throw. If they do rock three times in a row, will they throw rock a forth?

Now, the Institute of Competition Sciences (ICS) is exploring putting a new educational spin on this game. Instead of just using your logic to try to predict your opponent’s next throw, you will use math. In this new “Mathematical RPS” two teams will compete against each other in a match of 200 RPS rounds. Each team will present three equations at the beginning of the match defining values for Rock, Paper, and Scissors based on the round number (1 to 200). The other team then tries to beat their opponent by determining the functions they used at the beginning of the match. The team that determines the functions earliest, and who can use them to predict what their opponent will throw in later rounds will score more points and win the match.

ICS is opening the opportunity for public comment on the rules for the Mathematical RPS tournaments until February 28th. We look forward to collaborating with our community make a great new educational opportunity to engage and excite students about math. Our goal is to launch the tournaments online with the 2019-20 school year. Please take a moment to review the draft rules posted in this PDF, and provide input through our online Google Form to help us make the best educational RPS challenge possible.

We all know that the season of college applications can be incredibly stressful. From deciding where to apply, to finding good recommendation letters, to writing essays, to worrying whether or not you'll actually get in, there are plenty of things keeping students and parents up late at night. Then, on top of everything, you have to wonder, how in the world are you going to pay for it all? 

According to the College Board, the average cost of annual tuition and fees for the 2016–2017 school year was $33,480 at private colleges, $9,650 for state residents at public colleges, and $24,930 for out-of-state residents attending public universities. Financial aid from the schools is becoming harder and harder to come by. However, academic competitions are stepping up to fill the void. In this previous post, we looked at the big science competitions and how they're helping thousands of students each year not only get accepted to, but also pay for college.

With this in mind, we wanted to research how mathematics competitions stack up. So we dug into it and identified 36 nationwide (United States) mathematics-focused competitions for high school students. We evaluated how they do in supporting our next generation of STEM leaders. For this analysis, we focused on "pure" math competitions, leaving out science fairs and other STEM research competitions that certainly include math, but have other specific topics as their main focus.

What did we find? First off, there is a new shining star among mathematics competitions. Only 14% of mathematical competitions for high school students directly offer significant college scholarships or cash awards (we defined the cutoff for this at being an award of >$1000 for the top team). The new leader among these is in its first year this fall - the Modeling the Future Challenge.

86% of the national mathematical competitions we researched included little or no direct prize money or scholarship awards for their winners. This does not mean they included no awards at all. Some have great travel opportunities for their top teams to go to international conferences or events. Many are tied into the Mathematical Association of America's network of contests leading toward the International Mathematics Olympiad. Some foundations then use student scores on these exams to provide scholarships. And for the few students that get the chance to go all the way to the international conference, this is indeed a great experience. So there certainly are benefits to these competitions.



The MTF Challenge leads the pack among math competitions providing $60,000 in guaranteed awards, and a $25,000 first place college scholarship. Not only that, but the Finalist Teams each receive an all-expense-paid trip to New York City where they participate in the Modeling the Future Symposium and meet with professional actuaries to learn how math can be applied to their future careers. 

The Modeling the Future Challenge takes students beyond the exam into real-world applied mathematics. It connects what you teach them in the classroom with actual data analysis and helps students see the true value in applying their mathematical knowledge to cutting edge technologies and careers. "The Modeling the Future Challenge echoes what actuaries do for their careers. It provides students with the opportunity to connect with what mathematics is all about," said Jason Leppin, Executive Director of The Actuarial Foundation, the non-profit behind the competition. “We want to provide life-changing scholarships for students, and demonstrate that math really can lead to amazing careers like being an actuary, which is consistently ranked among one of the top rated careers.

To win the challenge, students analyze one of the hottest technologies around - autonomous vehicles - and use mathematical modeling to determine how they expect the adoption of autonomous vehicles to change the future. Will it revolutionize how we commute to work? Will it change the way we ship our packages and goods? Will it create new opportunities in how we design our cities? Students will use math to make their own decisions on the changes they expect, based on their own analysis of real data! They’ll write this up in a brief report and have a shot at The Actuarial Foundation’s industry leading big dollar scholarships.

So, this year, rather than just putting your students through another exam, make sure they don't miss out on the chance for a trip to New York City, the $60,000 award purse, and the big scholarships available through the Modeling the Future Challenge. Their college applications and future selves will definitely thank you for it. You can register your team of students up until October 28th. Then the 1-month challenge period begins, when students can analyze the data and submit their final projects which are due November 25th!

To learn more about the challenge topic, data sources, and submission requirements check out: www.mtfchallenge.org.



The Madrid regional Spanish Mathematics Competition – leading to national May Math Olympiad and the International Mathematics Olympiad.

Early in the morning on Saturday, April 22, Spain’s capital saw thousands of madrileños gather to enjoy a highly-anticipated competition. Eager fans, trainers, and family members flocked to Complutense University for a chance to see the result of months of practice by the some of the most skilled young contestants. El Clásico (the famed match between the Real Madrid and Barcelona football clubs) was scheduled for the following day, but this spectacle sought to showcase a different sort of excellence. The crowd did not form around the soccer field, but rather the math department.

The XXI edition of the Concurso de Primavera de Matemáticas (the 21st Spring Math Competition) brought together the sharpest students from secondary schools throughout the region. Nearly 4,000 participants, ranging from 5th to 12th grade, arrived at the university at 8 AM on Saturday morning ready to tackle 25 math and logic problems in less than 90 minutes. After months of honing their problem-solving skills with practice exams, students from more than 500 secondary schools set their sights on making the list of 150 overall highest-scorers and grabbing the title of top 3 scorers in their age level. The most ambitious among the younger students looked to stand out and qualify for one of the 25 spots in the nation-wide XXIII Olimpiada de Mayo (the 23rd May Math Olympiad).

Carlos and Valentina, two of my students at IES Valdebernardo – a local high school in Spain- arrived at the Complutense with their work cut out for them. IES Valdebernardo has failed to place even one student among the top 150 scorers during the last five competitions. A quick look at results from the previous five competitions reveals the distance between Valdebernardo and the top-performers:

  • Colegio San José del Parque – At least 1 top-scoring student each year.
  • IES San Juan Bautista – At least 2 top-scoring students each year, including three years with 4 top-scorers.
  • Colégio Alemán – At least 4 top-scoring students each year, including one year with 6 and one year with 8 top-scorers.

The powerhouse of Colégio Alemán (Madrid’s German School), supported by millions of Euros in investment from the German government, offers a consistently impressive and intimidating record. IES Valdebernardo, an average public school within the community of Madrid, boasts little more than a math department excited to offer practice exercises to interested students and encourage their participation. The school lacks a well-developed blog devoted exclusively to math olympiads, a hallmark among high-achieving institutions. The disparity in resources and energy committed to the competition was noticeable between these two schools.

Carlos and Valentina seemed unbothered by this dynamic as they waited for their respective groups to start the exam. Once the doors opened, they calmly took their seats and began to grind out answers. Meanwhile, parents and teachers took in the day’s entertainment (a comedy duo of mathematicians tossing Pythagoras puns left and right). The spinning of cognitive wheels was all but audible as participants wrestled with questions on practical and theoretical algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and calculus that would stump most educated adults (including the author).

An exhausting 90 minutes after they entered, the students emerged from classrooms and bolted for the front of the building, where official answers would soon be posted. Carlos and Valentina seemed lukewarm about their performance, opting for cautious optimism. Relieved and abuzz with excitement, the competitors compared strategies and answers, fist-pumping or groaning as the correct solutions were revealed. An especially tricky logic question concerning a girl named Alba’s collection of pyramids and prisms was the topic of much discussion for the youngest group, while the oldest students rehashed a monster problem about the graph of a parabolic function. Proud parents and teachers peppered their children with questions, the atmosphere electric.

At the end of the day, the list of winners was posted: 5 students from Colégio San José del Parque, 3 from IES San Juan Bautista, 7 from Colégio Alemán, and 0 students from IES Valdebernardo would be taking home the trophies and certificates for excellence in mathematics. Nonetheless, Carlos and Valentina cheerfully headed home. Valentina, sounding like a true purist, explained to me that she came for one simple reason: she loved math and the immense satisfaction of applying the right theorem or crafting a unique solution to a tricky problem. Having had the additional privilege of competing with the brightest young stars in the world of mathematics, Valentina was content with her performance. But fans of IES Valdebernardo are eager to see if she can knock one of the regulars from Colégio Alemán off the list of top scorers next year and replace them with “IES Valdebernardo!”