The Search Is On! Who Will Be America’s 2017 Top Young Scientist?


Today, Discovery Education and 3M launched the 10th annual Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge, the nation’s premier science competition for students in grades 5-8.  This program offers young inventors the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be mentored by a 3M Scientist Mentor, compete for $25,000, and earn the title of “America’s Top Young Scientist.”

The Challenge rewards curious students who use their science acumen and creativity to solve a problem in their local, national or global community. Fourteen-year-old Maanasa Mendu won last year for her creation of HARVEST, a bio-inspired energy device that captures energy in the form of wind, rain and sun – and converts it to power. Mendu was inspired to enter the contest through her “pretty awesome” eighth grade science teacher.

Students in grades 5-8 can enter the challenge by creating a one to two-minute video communicating the science behind their big idea that could solve or impact an everyday problem.  Video entries will be evaluated based on their creativity, scientific knowledge, persuasiveness and delivery. Ten finalists will then be chosen to participate in an exclusive summer mentorship program, where they will work closely with and learn from a 3M scientist. Each finalist will also receive a trip to the 3M Innovation Center at the company’s headquarters in St. Paul, Minn., to compete at the final event in October 2017.

All video entries must be submitted online at no later than April 19, 2017. Videos will not be judged on production skills and may be recorded on cell phones or basic digital cameras.

Timed to the Challenge opening is the launch of Young Scientist Lab, an interactive portal for scientific exploration, and new home to the award-winning Young Scientist Challenge. The Lab is a one-stop STEM destination for teachers, students and parents with engaging activities, lesson plans, and interactive teaching tools to foster the next generation of scientists. There is also inspiration on how innovation can solve problems across industries including: manufacturing, energy, safety, healthcare, and more. Additionally, users of the Lab will get up-to-the-minute science news, learn about live events, participate in upcoming field trips, and read new blogs about the Young Scientist Challenge.

Over the years, the Young Scientist Challenge has awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars in student prizes, paired students with world-renowned scientists and delivered much-needed science resources to millions of students, teachers and families across the country.  In 2016, entries were submitted by nearly all 50 states, from urban, suburban and rural districts. Six girls and four boys were named as the top 10 finalists.

“The Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge was really meaningful,” said Mendu.  “I encourage any curious middle schooler to enter, because you will not only get a chance to win amazing prizes like $25,000, but you will have a number of opportunities to enhance your scientific knowledge, creativity, and collaboration skills! The great thing about the Young Scientist Challenge is that you have an amazing 3M mentor at your side.  Overall, the Challenge allows you to broaden your horizons.”

By: Alycia Chanin, Communications Coordinator, Discovery Education