Challenge/Competition Resources… 21 Century Skills and PBL For All Subjects… Part One


Welcome to the first of a two part series introducing you to national competitions, challenges, and programs that can make any classroom come alive with learning. You do not have to join the competition in order to benefit! Please read and share this post with others. As always,  feel free to subscribe by RSS or email, follow me on twitter at (@mjgormans), and also discover some great resources at my 21centuryedtech Wiki! Now, check out the first 8 of these 16 amazing resources ! If you know of a great resources please  comment/reply so we all can learn!

Its the start of a new school year and a great time to look into web sites that promote learning through challenges and competitions. It is amazing the number of national programs that involve competition and projects that can fit into the school curriculum while promoting NET-S standards, Project Based Learning, and 21st century skills. You can either participate in the programs, or you can use the materials to enhance your curriculum. Either way, you are providing students with engaging educational activities that put them at the center of their learning.

Seven reasons to participate in national challenges and competitions

1. Many include national and state standards

2. Engaging resources (even if you don’t compete)

3. NETS, PBL, and 21st Century skills included

4. Most are free (or close to it)

5. Cross-curricular opportunities

6. Real world experience

7. Reward opportunities

Links to Programs: The listing below includes short descriptions of some amazing resource sites. Competition and challenge dates are posted, but remember that resources can be used anytime!

Siemen’s Science We Can Change The World Challenge – The only national sustainable challenge that empowers students in every grade level (K-12) to develop and share environmental solutions that just might change the world. Whether you are in the challenge or not, these resources for  elementary, middle, and high school are a must visit. (Usually begins in Aug/Sept)

Kids Science Challenge – Presented by award winning science radio program “Pulse Of The Planet” which has some great podcasts for educational use. Awesome topics, great Science Fair Web Page, Engaging Videos, and archived lesson plans. Check out great lessons such as Sports On Mars, Detective Science, and Bio-Inspired Design! Better yet, take a look at this listing of fun and educational activities! (Usually begins end of Sept beginning of Oct)

We The People – Sponsored by the Center For Civic Education. Awesome program that provides resources and studies involving the US Constitution. Student don’t just read about government, they live it. Materials for elementary and secondary. While you are at the site check out these podcasts entitled 60 Second Civics. There is information provided also on my 21centuryedtech Wiki. (Please check the  We The People site for competition dates since it does vary by grade level and state)

National Engineers’ Week Future City – An outstanding program that combines computer simulation game (SIM City) for social studies and science skills, an essay and presentation for language arts and computer skills, and model building that promotes math and artistic talent! It is a program that puts the A in STEM making it STEAM! Check out postings on my 21centuryedtech Wiki for more info. (Usually begins in Aug/Sept with completion in early January at the regional level, national competition in Washington DC in mid February)

Poetry Power – A site that encourages students to write poetry and essays with the award of being published and earn a small sum of money. Also has an a Teacher Corner and a data base of over 1000 lesson plans! An added extra is the unique Rhyming Dictionary available for poets and song writers. (Check site for different dates depending on season for both poetry and essay competition) * Usually submission dates are: poetry Apr, Aug, and Sep essays July, Oct, Feb

C-Span StudentCam is an annual national video documentary competition that encourages students to think seriously about issues that affect our communities and our nation. Students are asked to create a short (5-8 minute) video documentary that responds to a given topic.  Winners are aired on C-SPAN and share $50,000 in winnings! In 2010 there were 75 winners of the 1003 entries. This link provides great teaching information along with integration of core standards.There are resources provided, including access to C-SPAN Video Library. Another great PBL idea allowing students to work alone or in groups of 2-3. (Usually this competition begins in Aug/Sept with submissions in mid January, winners are usually aired on C-SPAN in April)

ACTFL Podcast Contest – This inclusion involves the foreign languages and video production. Students are given a theme such as “Discover Languages…Discover The World”. Students usually create a public service announcement encouraging the study of a foreign language. Important national standards include the 5C’s (communication, connections, comparisons, cultures, and communities). It covers all grade levels including post K12. (Usually competition begins at start of Oct and submission is mid Dec, check site)

Toshiba Exploravision – ExploraVision is a unique science competition that encourages K-12 students of all interest, skill and ability levels to create and explore a vision of future technology by combining their imaginations with the tools of science. It really is  a hands-on, minds-on project that inspires students and fuels their imagination. Check out these lesson plans that can inspire both STEM and PBL in any classroom!  (usually begins the start of school year with submission due by the beginning of February.)

Thanks for joining me on another quest for engaging 21st Century teaching resources. Part two… the next eight challenges will be coming to you in the another post! If you know of a great challenge/competition please leave a comment! Take a moment and subscribe to this blog by RSS or email, share with others, and as always follow me on twitter (@mjgormans). See you soon! – Mike

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One response to “Challenge/Competition Resources… 21 Century Skills and PBL For All Subjects… Part One

  1. Pingback: Part Two: More Challenge/Competition Resources… 21 Century Skills Plus PBL For All Subjects « 21 st Century Educational Technology and Learning

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