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8 Middle School Science Fairs You Should Check Out

Participating in science fairs as a middle schooler not only boosts your profile but also enhances your understanding of scientific concepts through practical application. Early engagement in such competitions can significantly improve problem-solving skills and academic performance. With various prestigious science fairs accessible to middle school students, these platforms offer young minds the opportunity to present their research, compete for exciting awards, and gain recognition at an early age

With that being said, let’s dive into 10 middle school science fairs you should check out:

Deadline: Usually due in mid-June

Date: Usually late-October

Eligibility: 6th, 7th and 8th grade students nominated by society affiliated science & engineering fair

The Thermo Fisher Scientific Junior Innovators Challenge (formerly known as Broadcom MASTERS) is a premier science competition for middle school students across the United States. It encourages young scientists and engineers to engage in individual or team projects in areas such as engineering, mathematics, and biological and physical sciences. The competition is highly prestigious, known for fostering a new generation of STEM innovators.

Participants compete for awards and prizes totaling more than $100,000, with the top award being the $25,000 Samueli Foundation Prize. Projects are meticulously judged based on creativity, scientific thought, thoroughness, competence, and clarity, emphasizing not only the scientific method but also the ability to communicate complex ideas effectively. The competition also promotes teamwork by allowing entries from teams, as well as individuals, encouraging collaboration among young scholars.

Deadline: November 15, 2023

Date: April 12, 2024

Eligibility:  6th – 12th grade who attend a U.S. public, private, or home school located within the United States

The National STEM Challenge offers a dynamic platform for middle school students to showcase their talents in STEM fields. This wide-ranging competition invites entries across various subjects including environmental science, robotics, computer science, and more, providing a rich opportunity for students to explore and innovate in their chosen areas of interest. It stands out for its commitment to fostering a deeper understanding and enthusiasm for STEM among young learners.

Awards in the National STEM Challenge are both generous and inspiring, with winners receiving scholarships and valuable equipment worth up to $10,000. The competition is designed to accommodate both individual participants and teams, making it accessible to all kinds of young scientists. Projects are judged based on their originality, practical application, and the impact they could have on solving real-world problems, emphasizing the importance of both innovation and applicability.

Deadline: May 2, 2024

Date: October 2024

Eligibility: U.S. residents who are students enrolled in 5th through 8th grade at a public, private, parochial, or home school

The 3M Young Scientist Challenge is a distinguished national competition that invites middle school students to submit innovative projects that offer solutions to everyday problems using science and technology. The challenge is open to a broad range of subjects, with a special emphasis on sustainability, environmental sciences, and practical technology applications. This competition is renowned for its ability to bring young minds into the world of real-world scientific problem solving and innovation.

Winners of the 3M Young Scientist Challenge are rewarded handsomely, with the top prize being $25,000 and an exclusive mentorship by a 3M scientist. These substantial rewards highlight the prestige of the competition and underscore the opportunity it provides for ambitious young scientists. The projects are judged on criteria including creativity, scientific knowledge, and potential to solve real-world problems, pushing participants to think critically and creatively about their contributions to science and society.

Deadline: March 6, 2024

Date: June 24 - June 28, 2024

Eligibility: Students must be officially enrolled in either sixth, seventh, eighth, or ninth grade at a U.S.-based public, private or homeschool

eCYBERMISSION is a compelling STEM competition that challenges students in grades six through nine to develop solutions to real-world problems in their local communities. The competition encourages projects in a variety of subjects such as environmental science, energy, public health, and safety, promoting practical and community-oriented scientific inquiry. It is an Army Educational Outreach Program (AEOP) initiative, enhancing its prestige and demonstrating its commitment to developing future problem solvers and critical thinkers.

This team-based competition awards U.S. Savings Bonds worth up to $9,000 to winning teams in each grade and regional level, culminating in national awards. Teams are judged on the basis of how well they apply the scientific method and engineering design process, which are critical in tackling complex community issues. By focusing on team entries, eCYBERMISSION fosters collaboration, leadership, and communication skills among participants, further enriching the educational value of the contest.

Deadline: January, depending on region

Date: February

Eligibility: Students in grades 6, 7, and 8 who are from the same school, a home school environment or are members of a nationally, regionally, or state-recognized youth-focused organization

The Future City Competition is a forward-thinking competition that challenges middle school students to imagine, design, and build cities of the future. This unique contest combines elements of engineering, architecture, and urban planning with a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation. Students work in teams to create detailed models and presentations of their ideal future city, using SimCity software to bring their ideas to life initially before constructing physical models.

Highly esteemed in educational and engineering circles, the Future City Competition not only encourages creativity and technical skill but also focuses on solving real-world problems that modern cities face, such as energy conservation and infrastructure resilience. Teams are judged on their project's vision, feasibility, and the integration of futuristic concepts and technologies. Awards include trips, cash prizes, and scholarships, highlighting the prestige and substantial incentives offered to participants. The competition promotes teamwork and interdisciplinary thinking, critical skills for anyone entering the STEM fields.

Deadline: April 7, 2024

Date: May 18, 2024

Eligibility: 6th through 12th grade students in US schools or other eligible organizational programs

The American Rocketry Challenge is the United States' premier rocket contest and one of the largest student rocketry competitions in the world. It invites middle and high school students to design, build, and launch model rockets in a thrilling test of their engineering and scientific skills. The challenge focuses on aerospace technology and rocket science, requiring teams to meet specific altitude and flight duration parameters with their homemade rockets.

Recognized for its high level of competition and prestige, the American Rocketry Challenge provides a platform for students to pursue interests in aerospace and aviation fields. Teams compete for a chance to win significant cash prizes, scholarships, and the opportunity to represent the United States in international competitions. Judging criteria are based on the rocket’s performance relative to the mission parameters, the team's ability to safely recover their payload, and the thoroughness of their design and flight planning. This competition fosters a collaborative spirit and practical engineering skills among participants, making it a highly valued educational experience in STEM communities.

Deadline: Usually in April

Date: June 26-June 30, 2024

Eligibility: 5th through 8th grade students who are members of a TSA middle school chapter or participant at an army base hosting a JSS event

Junior Solar Sprint (JSS) is an educational program aimed at middle school students, promoting environmental awareness and STEM education through the exciting challenge of designing, building, and racing solar-powered cars. Students delve into subjects such as alternative energy technologies, engineering principles, and physics to create efficient and fast solar vehicles. This competition provides a practical application of science and engineering concepts, encouraging students to work collaboratively and think innovatively.

JSS is highly regarded for its focus on renewable energy and its ability to engage students in hands-on STEM activities. Teams are judged based on vehicle design, the creativity of the car, and race performance, which tests the car's speed and stability powered solely by solar energy. Awards vary by region but often include trophies and educational grants, underscoring the competition’s prestige and commitment to promoting science and engineering education. This event not only fosters a competitive spirit but also promotes teamwork and ingenuity among young learners.

Deadline: Usually in early November

Date: April 23, 2024

Eligibility: Students between the ages of 13-18

The Conrad Challenge is an innovative and dynamic competition that invites teams of 2-5 students to develop sustainable solutions to some of the most pressing global challenges. Emphasizing creativity and entrepreneurial spirit, participants tackle problems in diverse categories such as aerospace and aviation, cyber-technology and security, energy and environment, health and nutrition, and smoke-free world. This challenge encourages young innovators to think big and create viable products that offer real-world solutions.

Highly prestigious, the Conrad Challenge provides not only national but also international recognition for winning teams, along with investment funds to help bring their product prototypes to market. Each team’s submission is rigorously judged on originality, scalability, and feasibility of implementation as well as potential market impact. The competition nurtures critical thinking, collaboration, and professional networking opportunities, making it a valuable experience for any young person interested in making a tangible impact through innovation.

Our Thoughts

Middle school students have a plethora of opportunities to explore their passion for science through various national and international science fairs. These competitions provide young learners with a platform to apply their knowledge in real-world scenarios, encouraging innovation and problem-solving in areas ranging from environmental sustainability to aerospace. Participating in these events not only enhances students’ STEM capabilities but also boosts their confidence and public speaking skills. The awards and recognition offered can significantly impact their academic and career trajectories, making these fairs a cornerstone of practical education in today's scientific landscape.

One more option - The Lumiere Junior Explorer Program

The Lumiere Junior Explorer Program is a program for middle school students to work one-on-one with a mentor to explore their academic interests and build a project they are passionate about.  Our mentors are scholars from top research universities such as Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Yale, Duke and LSE.

The program was founded by a Harvard & Oxford PhD who met as undergraduates at Harvard. The program is rigorous and fully virtual. We offer need based financial aid for students who qualify. You can find the application in the brochure

To learn more, you can reach out to our Head of Growth, Khushi Malde, at or go to our website.

Multiple rolling deadlines for JEP cohorts across the year, you can apply using this application link! 

If you'd like to take a look at the cohorts + deadlines for 2024, you can refer to this page.

Lydia is currently a junior at Harvard University, studying Molecular and Cellular Biology and Economics. In high school, she was the captain of her high school’s Academic Decathlon team and attended the Governor's School of Engineering and Technology. She aims to become a life sciences consultant after graduation. 

Image Source: Thermo Fisher logo



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