October 27, 2021

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Our third Annual STEM Writing Contest

Our 3rd Annual STEM Writing Contest

How do daddy longlegs develop such unusual legs? Can genetically engineered bacteria assist us detect buried land mines? Why does snow typically flip pink? Can Saturn’s rings assist to disclose what’s taking place within the planet’s core?

For those who click on on any of those articles, you’ll see that they’re written for a common reader. Particular technical or scientific data shouldn’t be required, and every is designed to get our consideration and preserve it — by giving us “information we will use” in our personal lives, or by exploring one thing fascinating in a means that makes it simple to know and reveals us why it issues.

That’s what Occasions journalists do every single day throughout our Science, Health and Technology sections, and it’s what Science News and Science News for Students do on their websites too, the place journalists clarify issues just like the moon’s orbital wobble, “zombie” wildfires and how sleep may affect test scores.

For this contest, The Studying Community invitations you to deliver that very same spirit of inquiry and discovery to discovering a STEM-related query, idea or concern you’re interested by, and, in 500 phrases or fewer, explaining it to a common viewers in a means that not solely helps us perceive, but additionally engages us and makes us see why it’s vital.

So what questions do you have about how the world works? What science, know-how, engineering, math or well being questions may be impressed by your individual life or experiences? What improvements, processes or issues in any of those areas puzzle or intrigue you? What ideas in STEM — whether or not from biology, physics, psychology, pc science, algebra or calculus — have you ever realized about, in or out of college, that may be helpful or enjoyable to elucidate to others?

The perfect of this sort of writing consists of three components we’ll be asking you to incorporate, too:

  • It begins with an engaging hook to get readers’ consideration and make us care in regards to the topic.

  • It quotes specialists and/or consists of analysis on the subject to give context and credibility.

  • It explains why the topic matters. Why do you care? Why ought to we care? Whom or what does it have an effect on, why and the way? How is it related to broader questions within the subject, to the world as we speak and to our personal lives.

Check out the total tips and associated assets beneath. Please put up any questions you could have within the feedback and we’ll reply you there, or write to us at LNFeedback@nytimes.com.

This contest begins on Feb. 2, 2022. We are going to add hyperlinks to the submission kinds right here on the day the competition opens.

College students ages 11 to 19 wherever on the earth attending center or highschool can take part. College students ages 13 to 19 years outdated in the US and the UK, and college students ages 16 to 19 years outdated wherever else on the earth, can submit their very own entries. Youthful college students can have an grownup submit on their behalf.

1. Select a STEM matter you care about.

Perhaps it’s one thing private — you simply came upon you’re nearsighted and also you need to know what which means, otherwise you need to study in regards to the mind and find out how to create extra environment friendly examine habits.

Or, perhaps it’s one thing cool you noticed in science lab that you just’d like to elucidate, or a phenomenon you’ve observed in your individual neighborhood, college or backyard that you just’d like to analyze. It may very well be a subject you already know an amazing deal about and need to clarify to others, or one thing you’ve by no means considered till now.

Please select one thing you’re genuinely interested by. We’ve been operating pupil writing contests for over a decade, and one factor we all know for certain is that one of the best writing is impressed by college students’ actual pursuits, not from a one-size-fits-all task given to a whole class.

2. Be sure your matter is slim sufficient that you may cowl it properly in 500 phrases or fewer.

You most likely can’t clarify all the circulatory system inside our phrase restrict, however you most likely can clarify why the center retains beating. You most likely can’t get throughout all of the pondering and analysis on the science of happiness, however you most likely can select one research-backed suggestion and discover it.

3. Do analysis, and cite your sources.

For this contest, we’re partnering with Science Information. At the very least one in all your sources have to be from both The New York Occasions, Science Information OR its sister web site, Science Information for College students. However in fact you should use all three, and some other further sources.

We give you a separate subject to make a listing of sources you used to put in writing your article or essay. You possibly can format your record nevertheless you need; we won’t decide your entry based mostly on formatting on this part. And, inner citations are usually not obligatory.

We additionally encourage you to interview specialists whose work is related to your chosen matter. However that doesn’t imply you need to name the top of the U.S. Forest Service if you wish to write about butterfly habitats. You possibly can speak to an area park ranger or gardener who has expertise with and in depth data in regards to the matter.

And, in fact, a part of your analysis could be your individual investigations. Let’s say you’re writing about youngsters’ use of e-books. You would possibly survey your individual class or grade about their habits and preferences, then use these findings in your piece.

4. However be very cautious to place quotations round any direct quotes you employ, and to quote the supply of something you paraphrase.

If we put a sentence out of your submission right into a search engine, we don’t need to discover it wherever else — until you’re clearly quoting or citing that supply.

5. Your submission have to be 500 phrases or fewer, not together with the title.

6. Right here is the rubric that reveals precisely what we’re in search of.

7. Please submit just one entry per pupil.

Write your essay by your self or with a gaggle, however please submit just one essay per pupil. If you’re working as a group, simply keep in mind to submit all your names if you put up your entry. And in case you’re submitting as a part of a group, you shouldn’t additionally submit as a person.

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

We offer a small window of time after that deadline to permit for technical difficulties. Nevertheless, sooner or later after the deadline, our contest submission type closes and you’ll not be allowed to submit an entry, so please be conscious of the deadline and submit early.

Solutions to your questions on judging, the foundations and educating with this contest. Please learn these totally and, in case you nonetheless can’t discover what you’re in search of, put up your question within the feedback or write to us at LNFeedback@nytimes.com.


How will my essay be judged?

Your work can be learn by journalists from The New York Occasions and Science Information in addition to by Studying Community workers members and STEM educators from round the US. We are going to use this rubric to guage entries.

What’s the “prize”?

Having your work revealed on The New York Occasions Studying Community.

When will the winners be introduced?

About two months after the competition has closed.

My essay wasn’t chosen as a winner. Are you able to inform me why?

We obtain 1000’s of entries for this contest, so, sadly, our group doesn’t have the capability to supply particular person suggestions on every pupil’s essay.


Who’s eligible to take part on this contest?

For this contest, we invite college students ages 11 to 19 in center college or highschool to enter. For college students in the US, we contemplate center college to start in sixth grade; college students outdoors of the US have to be at the very least 11 years outdated to enter.

The kids and stepchildren of New York Occasions staff are usually not eligible to enter this contest. Nor are college students who stay in the identical family as these staff.

If you’re undecided if you’re eligible for this contest (for instance, in case you’re taking a spot yr), please see our more detailed eligibility rules.

My essay was revealed in my college newspaper. Can I submit it to this contest?

No. We ask that your essay be authentic for this contest. Please don’t submit something you could have already revealed on the time of submission, whether or not in a faculty newspaper, for one more contest or wherever else.

Do I would like a Works Cited web page?

Sure. We give you a separate subject to record the sources you used to put in writing your essay. You’re allowed to format your record nevertheless you need; we won’t decide your entry based mostly on formatting on this part. Inner citations are usually not obligatory.

Can I’ve another person examine my work?

We perceive that college students will typically revise their work based mostly on suggestions from academics and friends. That’s allowed for this contest. Nevertheless, make sure that the ultimate submission displays the concepts, voice and writing capacity of the scholar, not another person.

Who can I contact if I’ve questions on this contest or am having points submitting my entry?

Depart a touch upon this put up or write to us at LNFeedback@nytimes.com.


I’m a instructor. What assets do you need to assist me train with this contest?

Begin with our unit plan for informational writing. It consists of writing prompts, mentor texts and lesson plans that may help this contest.

You may also invite your college students to learn the winners of last year’s contest to get inspiration for their very own work.

Do my college students want a New York Occasions subscription to entry these assets?

No. The entire assets on The Studying Community are free.

In case your college students don’t have a subscription to The New York Occasions, they’ll additionally get entry to Occasions items by way of The Learning Network. All of the actions for college kids on our web site, together with mentor texts and writing prompts, plus the Occasions articles they hyperlink to, are free. College students can seek for articles utilizing the search device on our dwelling web page. In the remainder of The Occasions, they’ll entry as much as 5 free articles a month.

How do my college students show to me that they entered this contest?

After they submit their essays, college students ought to obtain an electronic mail from The New York Occasions with the topic heading “Thanks on your submission to our STEM Writing Contest,” which they’ll ahead to you to point out their entry has been accepted.

This contest is a collaboration with the Society for Science & the Public, writer of Science News, a supply of unbiased nonprofit journalism on the newest in science, drugs and know-how since 1921, Science News for Students and the Science News in High Schools program.

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