Competitions, Award Programs & Opportunities for Gifted & Talented Students

Research and Engineering Apprentice Program (MN Academy of Science)

Each year the Academy selects and helps place two high school students in research settings to give them an opportunity work with professional scientists on original research over the summer months. The Research Engineering Apprenticeship Program (REAP) is especially focused on students who have not had an opportunity to work in a research environment with a professional scientist. These apprenticeships are designed to expand students' background and understanding of scientific research and motivate them toward a research career in science mathematics or technology. The REAP scholars present their research in a paper at the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium.

Zaner Bloser National Handwriting Contest

This contest is open to all students in grades 1-8 whose school uses Zaner-Bloser Handwriting. By participating you may enable one or more of your students to win many special prizes including $500 U.S. Savings bonds and FLYTM Pentop Computers. The schools with winners also receive prizes! The classroom of the Grand National Champion will win a new computer valued at $1,000 along with Zaner-Bloser Handwriting Software valued at $120. And new this year, the teacher of the Grand National Champion will win a trip for two to Boston, home of John Hancock, to commemorate National Handwriting week! Travel must be completed within one year of receipt of travel voucher.

You have even more chances to win! We have two categories of schools: public and private/Catholic schools. Application and rules are available online.

Minnesota Academy of Science State Science and Engineering Fair 2011:

The MN State Science and Engineering Fair is an annual event that showcases Minnesota's best and brightest students in the field of science. It is the culmination of Regional MN Fairs occurring throughout the winter. Participants in the MAS State Fair are in Junior or Senior High. Senior High Students participate in the Project Competition, Junior High Students may participate with a project, a research paper or both. Senior High Students wishing to participate in a research paper competition should become involved in the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium. From approximately 2,500 regional participants, about 350 are selected to present at the Minnesota Academy of Science State Fair. At the fair, over 75 organizations and businesses present over 300 awards to students with outstanding projects.

Junior Science and Humanities Symposium 2010 (MAS)

Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (JSHS) is a Tri-State (Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota) Paper Competition for students in grades 9-12. The JSHS competition will now occurs just prior to the State Science Fair (which is a Project Competition for both Junior and Senior High students and a Paper Competition for Junior High students). This means less registration (and fees) without decreasing the amount or quality of this educational Paper Competition.

First Lego League (ages 9-14)

The FIRST LEGO League provides children aged 9 through 14 opportunities for hands-on experimentation in a real-world context.With the help of LEGO MINDSTORMS Robotics Invention System technology, young participants can build a robot and compete in a friendly, FIRST-style robotics event specially designed for their age group. Using LEGO bricks and other elements such as sensors, motors, and gears, teams gain hands-on experience in engineering and computer programming principles as they construct and program their unique robot inventions.

Siemens Westinghouse Competition

A signature program of the New Jersey-based Siemens Foundation, the Siemens Westinghouse Competition is a research-based science and math competition for high school students. The competition awards college scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $100,000. Students may enter as individuals or as members of a team.

Frederic Davidson Writing Competition

The Frederic Davidson Competition offers one first prize of $1,000, three second prizes of $500, and two third prizes of $250 each year for essays dealing with English or French literature.

In addition, the  Colorado Department of Education offers this excellent list of opportunities:

Academic Games Tournament

Academic Triathlon

American Computer Science League Competition

Continental Mathematics League

Destination Imagination

Future Problem Solving

HOBY Sophomore Leadership Seminars

Intel International Science and Engineering Fair

Knowledge Masters


Mathematical Olympiads

Merlyn's Pen Short Story Contest

National Americanism Essay Contest

National Council of Teachers of English Writing Awards

National Engineering Design Challenge

National Federation of Press Women High School Communications Contest

National Geography Bee

National Geography Challenge

National High School Oratorical Competition

National History Day Contest

National Junior Classical League

National Mathematics League Competitions

National Peace Essay Contest

National Spelling Bee

Paul A. Witty Outstanding Literature Award

Physics Bowl

Promising Young Writers Program

Science Olympiad

NASA Student Involvement Program

Stock Market Game

United States Academic Decathlon

USA Computing Olympiad

Word Masters Challenge

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