Here is our annual list of STEM, AI, and Entrepreneurship Competitions for Middle School Students! These competitions help kids develop innovative ideas, work in teams, learn how to pitch, and win honors that they can showcase in college applications and more.
What is a STEM competition?
In STEM competitions, students use any combination of science, coding, AI, software and hardware to solve important problems. STEM competitions can include science fairs. Some are team competitions and others have individual entries. Some competitions (like science fairs) expect students to develop innovations in a chosen project area, while others may have more of a question and answer structure.
What is an AI Competition?
AI can be its own competition or can be an element of any other competition. The goal in these competitions is to use AI to solve an important problem in a new way, or use AI to enhance a solution to a problem. AI is usually a great way to create innovation or add unique value to any project based STEM, social good, or innovation competition. Some competitions focus heavily on the AI part, while others consider it a distinguishing feature that they will give extra marks for in judging,
What is an Innovation or Entrepreneurship Competition?
These are usually project-based competitions where students are challenged to find unique solutions to important problems in either their community or the world at large. Example goals can be helping the environment, mitigating climate change, helping improve human health, equality etc.
While they are social good or innovation, they usually require applications of STEM concepts, coding, and AI in the solution. Students should also think about the impact of their solutions and how they can bring the solutions to market. Advanced tiers of competition may require business plans while entry level tiers may not.
What are the benefits of STEM Middle School competitions?
They are a great way to learn problem-solving, work in teams, learn how businesses work, apply STEM, coding, and AI concepts in real-world situations, demonstrate accomplishments for college applications, and of course win prizes!
What are the best online competitions for students?
There are many online competitions across different areas from essay writing to coding. Over the last two years, many of the competitions below have been online. Some may go back to in person competitions (such as the science fairs), but others (like the Congressional App Challenge, have always had submissions online).
How to get started with a STEM Competition?
Check out the list of competitions below. Pick one that works for you. If you would like assistance coming up with a solution or a mentor to work with, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We also help AIClub students find teams to work with via our competitions’ service.
US Congressional App Challenge
What is it? A competition where students can submit apps solving important problems
Who qualifies: K-12 students who are US citizens or permanent residents. You will compete with those in your congressional district. Individuals or teams can apply.
Deadline - Around November
3M Young Scientists Challenge
What is it? Individual students submit unique creative solutions to everyday problems.
Who qualifies: Grades 5-8
Deadline - opens in January, submission deadline in March
What is it? A Hackathon where kids of teams 2-5 learn about entrepreneurship and create solutions in a space of 2 days.
Who qualifies: Ages 10-14
Deadline - registration and event September
What is it? A STEM competition for students to explore science topics or solve engineering problems
Who qualifies: teams of 3-4 students and one mentor. Students in grades 6-9.
Deadline: Registration is now open! Register by Nov 23, 2021to get your STEM kit!
What is it? A social good and innovation competition for girls worldwide. Teams of girls can build an app or website to solve an important problem in their communities. Focuses on app development, AI, social good and entrepreneurship.
Who qualifies: teams of girls (one to four per team) in middle school or high school.
Deadline: Registration and submission deadlines March-May 2022.
What is it? A worldwide competition for middle school and high school students to develop socially impactful applications using Artificial Intelligence. Students can build mobile applications or websites that use AI.
Who qualifies: teams of one to four students aged 10-18
Deadline - registration July 2022, event August 2022.
What is it? A competition for US Middle School girls to solve social, scientific or technological problems using Computer Science. Students may use coding, AI, IOT and other technologies in their solution.
Who qualifies: teams of one to three girls in grades 6-8
Deadline: registration March 2022, submission May 2022
Your Local Science Fair
What is it? For US middle school students, your local science fair is a great place to showcase unique solutions to problems. This is the first step towards qualifying for nationwide events./ Check with your school for the deadlines for your local fair. Submissions usually start in November 2021 and the actual fair is between January and April 2022.
What is it? Broadcom MASTERS is the nation’s premier science and technology competition for middle school students. Solutions demonstrate unique innovations in science, use of AI, use of software etc.
Who qualifies: You need to qualify through your local school or regional fair
Deadlines: Check the deadlines of your local fair to begin
Girls Programming League Challenge
What is it? A coding competition for girls in middle school and high school
Who qualifies: Girls in teams of one to three
Deadlines: Usually September
Want some tips on how to compete and win in these competitions? Check out our blog here.