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Beyond the School Science Fair: Advanced Science Competitions

A science project, especially an advanced one, may have a longer shelf life than just a single fair or a linear competition circuit. Top science students may find many events and venues in which to enter and showcase their research and findings. Science Buddies' Advanced Project Guide helps students follow a roadmap to advanced project success.

Advanced Science Competition for students

Many students come to Science Buddies looking for an entry-level (or grade-level) science exploration to meet the requirements of a school science fair or class assignment. Science Buddies has hundreds of scientist-authored beginner and intermediate projects in more than 30 areas of science to match up to student interest and experience. But Science Buddies also has a wide range of advanced science projects, as well as abbreviated project ideas, designed to engage and challenge advanced science students.

From simulating the biochemistry and biomedical engineering required for a smart insulin pump to exploring the efficiency of a cobalt-based catalyst at helping to form molecular oxygen, building an X-ray machine, setting up a cloud chamber to study radioactivity, or modeling ocean acidification, students looking for a more complex or long-term science investigation will find plenty of advanced project ideas at Science Buddies. Beyond the school fair or a specific class assignment, some students choose an advanced project and end up on an exciting path to advanced science competition. Other students approach science fair each year specifically with advanced competition in mind and seek out a long-term project that they hope to demonstrate at higher levels of science competition.

No matter which path a student takes, the end result may be a ticket to advance to a fair like Intel's International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF), which invites students who win at local and state ISEF-affiliated science fairs. Other major science events that advanced students can target include the Intel Science Talent Search; the Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology; and the Google Science Fair. Students can learn more about these and other top science competitions in the Advanced Project Guide.

In addition to competitions that have a long history in science education, students should always look around and see what other competitions (or scholarships) may be available for which their project might qualify. Advanced science fair projects require a lot of work and often involve months and months of experimentation and data collection. Turning a single project into an entry for a number of events makes the most of the hard work!

Turning Science Ideas into Reality

In some cases, a special event like MIT's THINK Scholars Program (THINK) may provide the impetus for a science project that can then be leveraged into other competitions. THINK is an MIT outreach program that invites high school student project proposals in any area of science. Winning proposals receive a budge, a scholarship, mentorship, and a trip to MIT to help bring their project into reality.

To learn more about THINK, visit: think.mit.edu. Submissions for this year's competition are due January 1, 2015.

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