Science in Fiction video contest

Student Video Contest: Science in Fiction

This is a guest post from Stacy Jannis, on behalf of the USA Science & Engineering Festival.

Are you looking for a creative learning activity that helps spark your middle or high school students’ imagination while fueling their interest in STEM subjects? The USA Science & Engineering Festival, in partnership with the Kavli Foundation, has launched a science video contest that is designed to challenge students while providing a unique outlet for creative expression.

Not only do students get an opportunity to practice and develop some real world science research skills, this fun activity also uses critical thinking, content and idea organizational skills, creative thinking, communications technology, and writing skills.

Middle school and high school age students are challenged to examine the science in movies, TV shows and video games. This contest gives students an opportunity to think about science in a fresh way from a very unusual angle. Science fiction has featured many futuristic technologies, including bionics, robotics, interstellar space travel, to name just a few. By researching the science behind fictional futuristic science technologies, students may discover just how close scientists are to actually making some of these technologies real.

If your students have never made a video before, or entered a video contest, here are some tips to help get them started:

—Have them view at least one movie, show, or game that they want to investigate. It might help to make a list of futuristic technologies, along with a list of questions.
—Research the science behind the futuristic technologies.
—Ask questions. For example, what does science need to solve, invent or perfect in order to make interstellar space travel a reality?
—Write a brief essay style outline and a video script
—Make a 30 to 90 second movie that presents the topic in a creative way.  Student movies can be made using a video camera (or video capable phone) and by editing photos, original art work, animation, text, royalty free stock footage (for example, from NASA).

To learn more and enter the competition, visit the USA Science & Engineering Festival website – the deadline to enter is March 21, 2o14.  The winners will be announced at the USA Science & Engineering Festival during the weekend of April 26-27, 2014. First prize is $2000, second prize is $750, third prize is $500, the People’s Choice award is $250. Additional prizes include Wolfram Mathematica software and free Stunt Ranch training, courtesy of Steve Wolf in Austin, TX.