STEM Competitions for K-12 Educators Educator competitions increase students’ interest and excitement for STEM

December Social Media Contest

STEM Competitions for K-12 Educators

Deadline: 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time, Friday, December 31st

Teachers, December 2nd is Special Education Day, a day to recognize huge leaps for special education laws! Differentiation is such a vital part in giving equal opportunities to all students, regardless of their ability levels! Throughout the month of December, we want to know what are ways that you support different learning styles and incorporate differentiation in your classroom? To enter the contest, follow ORISE on social media, fill out this (very short) survey, and comment your answer on the post!


THREE randomly selected teachers will receive a Cricut for their classroom along with a supply of vinyl to jumpstart their creativity.


  • The contest closes at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time, Friday, December 31st
  • Teachers must teach in the United States, a U.S. Territory, or a DoDEA school to be eligible to win.
  • Teachers are eligible to win 2 ORISE competitions in a 12 month period.

If you have any questions, please contact

To view the current ORISE lesson plan library, visit

Previous ORISE Educator Competitions and Winners

Winners wil be announced soon!

Makerspaces are fantastic for giving students the autonomy to be real-world problem solvers, developing their own solutions and then testing and improving them. Here’s an opportunity for you to win supplies to start your own classroom makerspace! The kit includes three 3D printers, a LEGO Robot Inventor Set, and three Sphero coding robots in addition to lots of great maker tools and supplies.

To win this awesome kit, ORISE wants to see how you incorporate empathy for others into a content-specific lesson plan. Empathy is the ability to understand another person’s point of view. Teachers of any grade level or subject are invited to submit a STEM lesson plan that incorporates empathy. Three K-12 teachers will win a fabulous classroom makerspace filled with maker tools and supplies!


  • Three QIDI Tech I Mate 3D printer
  • LEGO Inventor Set
  • Three Sphero Coding Robots
  • Makerspace Tools and Supplies:
    • Construction paper, Origami paper, Cardboard sheets, glue, hot glue gun, exacto knifes, modeling clay with tools, pipe cleaners, popsicle sticks, sequins, googly eyes, feathers, toy wheels, duct tape, ribbon, etc..

Winners will be announced soon!

Teachers, history is being made every second of every day, and there are so many fun ways to tie it to STEM! The Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) wants to see how you can incorporate history into one of your existing content specific STEM lesson plans. All K-12 teachers are invited to create and submit a math or science lesson plan that includes history for a chance to win a mini-grant! FOUR teachers, two who submit a math lesson plan and two who submit a science lesson plan, will be selected to receive mini-grants up to $1,000 to help buy equipment for their classroom!



1st Place: $1,000
2nd Place: $500


1st Place: $1,000
2nd Place: $500

Teachers, throughout the month of August, we want to know with unlimited funding, how you would update your classroom! 

Congratulations to the winners:

  • Tim Sheley, OK, White Bead School
  • Kristen Wilder, CT, Gov. William Pitkin School
  • Laurelle Riola-Catbagan, HI, Eleele Elementary School

Teachers, June is National Great Outdoor month, and we want to celebrate with you! ORISE wants to see how you incorporate the outdoors into one of your existing content specific lesson plans. Teachers of any grade level or subject are invited to submit a STEM lesson plan that utilizes the outdoors. THREE teachers will be selected to win a mini-grant for their classroom up to $1,500! May the forest be with you!


  • 1st: $1,500 mini-grant
  • 2nd: $1,000 mini-grant
  • 3rd: $500 mini-grant

Teachers, the summer Olympics begins July 23 and we want to celebrate with you! Throughout the month of July we want to know your answer to this question: what are ways you can incorporate the summer Olympics or sports into your lesson plans? To enter the contest, follow @ORISEconnect on social media, fill out this (very short) survey, and comment your answer on the post!


THREE randomly selected teachers will receive a complete back to school classroom supplies pack and a portable projector!

Teachers! School may be out, but summer social media contests are just beginning! Throughout the month of June, we want to know over the summer, what are things you can incorporate into or remove from your life to help with teaching fatigue or burnout?


  • Marcy Burns, Main Street Intermediate, Norwalk, Ohio
  • Jen Mernick, Ottoson Middle School, Waltham, Massachusetts
  • Jennifer Garcia, Westmore Oaks, West Sacramento, California

Calling all teachers! As the school year is coming to an end, ORISE wants your help to provide STEM activity plans for students that can be completed at home during the summer while you’re relaxing in the comfort of your brand new ENO Doublenest Hammock. THREE teachers will be awarded a complete summer kit for their excellent at-home activity plan.


  • Sierra Cook, Dalewood Middle School, Chattanooga, TN
    Activity plan: Greenhouse Effect in Action
  • Kimberly Brasel, Dyllis Springs Elementary, Oak Ridge, TN
    Activity plan: Power of the Sun
  • Melissa Poland, Petros Joyner Elementary School, Wartburg, TN
    Activity plan: Discover Density!

Teachers, April is Celebrate Diversity Month, and we want to celebrate with you! Throughout the month of April, we want to know in your classroom, how do you promote the importance of contributions to STEM from people of diverse backgrounds? To enter the contest, follow ORISE on social media @ORISEconnect, fill out this (very short) survey, and comment your answer on the post!


  • Marlene Mcgarrity, Christa McAuliffe School, Brooklyn, NY
  • Beth Cantrell, Smithville Elementary, Smithville, TN
  • Kayla Richardson, Science Hall Elementary, San Marcos, TX

♬ Butterfly in the sky

I can go twice as high

Take a look

It's in a (STEM) book

A reading (STEM) rainbow ♬

Well, you don't have to take my word for it, but I have a feeling that song might be stuck in your head for the rest of the day. ORISE wants to see how you can incorporate STEM and literacy into one of your existing content specific lesson plans. 


  • Claudine James, Malvern Middle School Malvern, AR
    Lesson Plan: Up from the Sea

  • Megan Mccall, Bayside Academy, Mobile, AL
    Lesson Plan: Pulling Physics from from Calling All Minds

  • Rich Mckinney, Vine Middle Magnet School, Knoxville, Tn
    Lesson Plan: Cape of Storms...or Cape of Good Hope?

The mental health crisis is at an all-time high here in the United States. At a time when isolation and stress seem like normal, everyday things, it is more important than ever to take care of our mental health. As I’m sure you’ve heard before, it takes 21 days to form a habit. ORISE wants you to follow a stress prevention technique for 21 days and document your journey. At the end of the 21 days, submit a video or podcast about your journey and the importance of taking care of your mental health. Teachers of any grade level or subject area are invited to join the challenge. The three winning teachers will receive a Fitbit and a TheraBox subscription to help continue their mental health journeys. Think you’re up for the challenge?


What better way to celebrate the New Year than with a new social media contest! Throughout the month of January, ORISE wants to know your best at-home STEM activities that students can complete from the comfort of their homes. 


  • Linda Bugg, Bess T. Shepherd Elementary, Chattanooga, TN
  • Claudia Bouchard, New London High School, Waterford, CT

Graphing is where I draw the line. *Ba Dum Tss* We hope not, because ORISE is asking you to whip out those ol’ excel sheets and graphing calculators for this month’s lesson plan competition!


  • 1st place: Celeste Ferrson, Hubert O. Sibley Elementary, Miami, FL
    Lesson plan: Pizza Fraction Pie Graph
  • 2nd place: Chunhong Lin, Benjamin Tasker Middle School, Bowie, MD
    Lesson plan: Straw Rocket
  • 3rd place: Harlee Morphis, Blackman Middle School, Murfreesboro, TN
    Lesson plan: Wildebeest vs. Devils Weed – Human Impact and Invasive Species

December 7-13 is Computer Science Education Week! This week is held annually in recognition of the birthday of computing pioneer Admiral Grace Murray Hopper (December 9, 1906). In the 1930s, the first programmable computer was created, but trying to teach this new skill must have been arduous and perplexing. Through the month of December, ORISE wants to hear your ideas on how to teach computer science without technology. Share an idea or activity that teaches computer science without the use of technology. 


  • Jessica Everitt, Hardin Valley Elementary School, Knoxville, TN
  • Hemalatha Bhaskaran, James M Bennett High School, Salisbury, MD
  • Evonne Hackett, Lakeview Middle School, Tunnel Hill, Georgia

With the holidays right around the corner, ORISE thinks it’s time for a break from lesson plans. Here is an opportunity to put on your dancing shoes and creative hats for a chance to win an Apple Watch and AirPods. ORISE wants you to create a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, math) song music video with original lyrics. The song must be connected to at least one standard. Teachers of any grade level or subject are invited to submit a STEAM music video and song lyrics. Three teachers will win Apple Watches and AirPods. Put on your creative hats and let’s get boppin’!


  • Covey Denton, Sallie B Howard School of the Arts, Wilson, NC
    Music video: Cloud Types
  • Heidi Fee, Charlestown, RI
    Music video: Don’t Treat Soil Like Dirt
  • Cheryl Burchett, Beaumont Magnet Academy, Knoxville, TN
    Music video: Art is Investigation

As teachers across the country settle into a virtual or hybrid model of a classroom this school year, ORISE wants to help your virtual teaching go as smoothly as possible. Here is an opportunity for you to win a complete video studio package for all your virtual teaching needs! Throughout the month of October, ORISE asked teachers to submit a lesson plan that converts an in-person interactive lesson to an at home digital lesson plan. 


  • Tita Lovell, Flowery Branch High School Flowery Branch, GA 
    Lesson plan: Moon Landing Challenge
  • Greta Shipman, Green Acres Elementary Douglassville GA 
    Lesson plan: Who were the Algonquin Native Americans?
  • Allison Hardy, Hillwood High School Nashville, TN 
    Lesson plan: Stoichiometry explained through particle diagrams

Calling all teachers! To celebrate National Chemistry Week, ORISE wants to award a teacher with sets of thirty at-home reusable lab kits for their classroom. 


  • Tabitha Birdsong, Oakhaven Elementary Memphis, TN
    Activity plan: PB&J Coding

Throughout the spring semester, teachers have put their flexibility to use in the digital classroom. ORISE wants to reward you for all of your hard work! Throughout the months of June and July, ORISE is asking teachers to submit a digital resource with a lesson or activity plan to go with it. The digital resource could be a video of a lab or experiment, creative video, virtual breakout, or anything that you have developed to teach online! Teachers should also submit the activity, lesson, or lab plan to go with the resource. 


  • 1st place: Patricia Lawrimore, Riverwood International Charter, Sandy Springs, GA
    Lesson plan: Mystery Box
  • 2nd place: Lisa Buckner, Linden Elementary School, Oak Ridge, TN
    Lesson plan: Night at the Museum: A Social Studies & Biography Project
  • 3rd place: Marcela St. Onge, Stone Memorial High School, Crossville, TN
    Lesson plan: Career Infographic

Time for another social media competition! Throughout the month of July, ORISE wants to hear more about your experience in the virtual classroom. Last month, we found out about the resources that were helpful to your experience. This month we want to know what resources, tools, or platforms did you look for or need during the last two months but were unable to find?

  • Dusty Carroll, Seneca High School, Mt. Laurel, NJ
  • Emily Sevenz, Maple Grove Middle School, Coon Rapids, MN
  • Jessica Sphar, Sweetwater High School, San Diego, CA

What a crazy year this has been! Throughout the month of June, ORISE wants to hear about your experience in the virtual classroom. What resources, tools, or platforms did you find most helpful in the last two months?


  • Denise Wright , Ocean Bay Middle School, Myrtle Beach, SC
  • Michelle Johnson, Maury Middle School, Dandridge, TN
  • Lisa Miller, West Central Middle School, Stronghurst, IL

How will you engage your students in exciting ways when you return to school in the fall? ORISE wants to see your best interactive lesson plans! Throughout the month of May, we are asking teachers to submit lesson plans that will engage students in hands-on, interactive learning. Think outside the box by not using traditional worksheets or online projects! THREE teachers will win a Touchjet Pond Touchscreen Projector!


  • 1st place: Emily Butterfield, Bearden Middle School, Knoxville, TN
    Lesson plan:  Invasive Species Mitigation
  • 2nd place: Lauren Wilmoth, Oak Ridge High School, Oak Ridge, TN
    Lesson plan:  Demographic Data Dive
  • 3rd place: Patricia Lawrimore, Riverwood International Charter School, Sandy Springs, GA
    Lesson plan: What can we do to improve the air quality at our school?

Let’s get 3-Dimensional! ORISE supports educators teaching using the 3-Dimensional Framework of NGSS ( Next Generation Science Standards). ORISE wants to see your best 3D lesson plans! Teachers of any grade level are invited to submit a science or STEM lesson plan incorporating each of the three dimensions (Science and Engineering Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Disciplinary Core Ideas). Each should be thoroughly identified in the lesson plan. THREE teachers will win mini-grants to purchase supplies for their classroom!


  • 1st place: Rebecca Van Duker, Griffin Creek Elementary School, Medford, OR
    Lesson plan:  Sounds All Around
  • 2nd place: Emily Curtis, Van Buren County High School, Spencer, TN
    Lesson plan: An Argument Driven Inquiry for the Law of Conservation of Matter
  • 3rd place: Abby Cornelius, Blue Valley North High School, Overland, KS
    Lesson plan: SuperPowered Plushies

Ready, set, GO! ORISE is hosting a lesson plan competition for just math teachers! Throughout the month of March, ORISE wants to see your best math lesson plan! The lesson plan can be any math topic or grade level.


Welcome to the New Year! Can you see it? A classroom filled with students eager to learn, engage, and explore... but as teachers, we know that is not always the case after Winter break, so here’s the challenge: ORISE wanted you to engage students using phenomena! For example, what are the molecular characteristics of water that cause it to form a “water hat” when dumped on a person’s head, and why does someone’s tears in space look different than someone’s tears on Earth?