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A collection of helpful articles on teachers and teaching

Using Contests to Motivate Learning

For some hard to reach students, a contest to motivate learning maybe just what they need to get them engaged and headed in the right direction. Many of the contest that students can get involved in consist of making a video, or coming up with games or info-graphics to help explain the point they are taking or the information they want to pass on.

 Using Contests to Motivate Learning

Contest are a great way to reach many students over a large area. These contests can be anywhere from statewide, nationwide even worldwide. In many ways these contests reach beyond the contestants. Other children in the family may get involved as well as their friends.

There are many opportunities for students to get involved in contests.  Here are a few examples of contests that students may be interested in getting involved. 

The Innovation Math Challenge

The Innovation Math Challenge is perfect for anyone who loves math. Students can working alone or in teams. This is a great opportunity for anyone that loves video games. A student or a team of students with a great idea and wants to make an interesting, fun and educational math related media will find this contest to be right up their alley. The media projects can include educational media digital resources such as videos, interactives, games,and infographics. This project is directed towards students of middle school age. The digital resources that are turned in should be engaging, rich in content and context. The chosen projects will be showcased on the PBS LearningMedia. There is a $1,000 prize for each of the chosen projects. Learn more about this contest here.

The Kavli Foundation 2014 Science in Fiction Video Contest

This is a great contest for the science lover. But it will also be a draw for any student that likes movies, TV shows and video games. This contest challenges its competitors to find science in TV, films and games. Find great examples like cyborgs, teleportation, time travel, bionic limb and cryonics in the films and games you see everyday. Research how science is portrayed. Then make a video expressing your ideas on what science needs to do to catch up with the ideas shown in movies, or how science can do the great things that we see in movies with the technology we currently have or will get in the near future, The video should be 30 to 90 minutes long and show what you have found in your research, share your discoveries and state you case. This contest is open to students in the sixth to twelfth grade. International and US students are encouraged to enter. The monetary prizes include:

  • First Prize: $2,000
  • Second Prize: $750
  • Third Prize: $500
  • Plus a “People’s Choice Award of $250

 The 2013 / 2014 First Freedom Student Competition

 This competition consists of a video and essay division of the contest. This is a competition for high school students. It gives them the opportunity to examine current day relevance as well as the history of religious freedom internationally. There are three topics on the subject to choose from and research. Once the topic is chosen and properly researched the contestant will assemble an entry in essay or video form. The video should be 5-7 minutes in length. This contest is open to 9th -12th grade students in the United States and U.S.. territories. There is a $2,500 prize for the winner of the video and the essay portion of the contest.


These are a few examples of the contests that are out there to help inspire students. Contests can be a great motivator. They are also a great way to earn money for college. Students should take advantage of the contests that are available out there and get all the benefits that they offer.

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