Competing for science

Sleek Geeks [Image: www.abc.net.au].
Sleek Geeks. Image: www.abc.net.au.
Future Sparks is all about encouraging kids to think about clean energy and adapting to our changing environment. They have a website with a whole pile of ideas for kids and, importantly, for teachers – everything from inspirational videos to lesson plans. They are also currently running a couple of competitions for 8-13-year olds.

The video competition involves creating a video that responds to one, or a combination, of the following:

  • Why is it so urgent that we move towards a clean energy future?
  • What are the most exciting and innovative ideas for clean energy solutions?
  • How can kids make a real impact through practical, everyday actions?

There’s also a persuasive writing competition that, for better or worse, ties into NAPLAN preparation. The level of teacher information is really the thing that makes Future Sparks stand out as it ought to be pretty simple for a willing teacher to incorporate the background materials and the competition into their lessons. There are cash prizes to be won at a State and National level. Regardless of the competition the Future Sparks site is worth a look if you have kids interested in science or are a science teacher of any sort.

The University of Sydney Sleek Geeks Science Eureka Prize is potentially more interesting if you’re a budding science film-maker. More prestige, bigger prizes, and probably a wider audience make an attractive offering. You can also make a video on anything that interests you in the field. Tough competition though, if the previous years’ winners are anything to go by. I must say I like the concept and approach of:

The idea is to communicate a scientific concept in a way that is accessible and entertaining to the public while painlessly increasing their science knowledge or, as the Sleek Geeks like to say, “learn without noticing”.

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