Are you ready to ignite your student’s imagination? K12 is thrilled to announce the 2024 K12 Innovation Challenge launches on November 7, 2023.
The 2024 K12 Innovation Challenge invites students to address the important task of safeguarding the environment. Students can pick from one of the six captivating themes and explore project ideas that will truly unleash their creativity and help save the planet. From creating sustainable habitats for local species to developing technologies to match adoptees with shelter pets, the possibilities are endless.
Whether it’s within your local community or on a global scale, your big ideas can change the planet!
All students in grades K-12 are invited to submit a proposal tackling some of the planet’s toughest issues. This year’s categories are:
- Habitat Restoration
- Ocean Vitality
- Future Farm
- Endangered Species
- Animal Welfare & Rescue
- Community Engagement
Students can work individually or as a team with up to three members. Students will choose from one of the six themes for solving an environmental issue and submit a 6 -7 sentence pitch with their idea. The 2024 K12 Innovation Challenge is open to all U.S students in grades K – 12th.
Keep reading to learn more about the 2024 K12 Innovation Challenge!
This year’s Innovation Challenge will host two divisions for even more opportunities to save the planet. The 2024 K12 Innovation Challenge elementary division is designed for students in K -5th grades and encourages young innovators to solve for an environmental issue by designing or creating innovate projects such as a building an insect hotel, making pine cone feeders, or organizing a clothing drive. The elementary division projects will be judged on environmental impact and alignment, creativity and presentation, practicality and feasibility, and community engagement and impact.
The middle/high school division is designed for students in grades 6th-12th and encourages innovators to undergo a more detailed approach to their innovation proposal. Some examples include creating a butterfly garden in your community or implementing a plan for local sustainable farming. The middle and high school division projects will be judged on environmental impact and alignment, innovation, presentation, collaboration and passion, implementation and viability, and community engagement and impact.
Innovation Challenge Categories
Habitat Restoration Students are encouraged to explore ways to restore local habitats, raise ecosystem awareness, or address invasive species. Some examples include creating a toad abode, creating a birdhouse, or a bee-friendly space in your community park.
Ocean Vitality Student are encouraged to explore ways to improve water ecosystems, mammal and fish health, human-animal interactions, or overfishing. Some examples include creating a small water garden, creating storm drain stencils, cleaning up bodies of water, removing pollutants, and reintroducing native aquatic species.
Future Farm Student are encouraged to explore eco-friendly practices for new generations of farming and agriculture, farm waste management, and sustainable livestock feed. Some examples include setting up a small vegetable farm, organizing a composting program, or creating an awareness campaign about eco-friendly farming.
Endangered Species Student are encouraged to explore strategies to protect and revive endangered species, including habitat restoration, anti-poaching initiatives, and captive breeding programs. Some examples include creating a mini habitat from recycled materials, forming a wildlife conservation club, or launching an awareness campaign to combat illegal animal trade threatening endangered species.
Animal Welfare & Rescue Student are encouraged to explore ways to investigate innovative approaches to improve animal welfare and facilitate rescue efforts, including technology-driven tracking systems for lost pets, animal adoption platforms, and designing animal-friendly shelters. Other examples include organizing a pet food drive for local animal shelters, creating a mobile app connecting pet owners to nearby veterinary services, or hosting an event to raise awareness about pet adoption or responsible pet ownership.
Community Engagement Student are encouraged to plan projects that involve the local community in animal habitat rehabilitation efforts such as clean-up events, tree-planting initiatives, or wildlife monitoring programs. Other examples include hosting a workshop about composting or energy conservation.
How to Enter
Students can register here and may work individually or as a team with up to three members. Students will choose from one of the six themes for solving an environmental issue and submit a 6 -7 sentence pitch with their idea. Entries can be submitted in Word, PPT format, or Google word processor; presentation creator is also acceptable. Please note if you are student under the age of 13 years old, a parent or guardian will need to register on your behalf.
For the elementary division, each member of the first-place winning team will receive a choice between three prize packages: a year’s membership to a zoo or aquarium; registration for Camp Invention Connect; or an Amazon e-gift card. Each member of the 2nd-place team will receive a $100 Amazon e-gift card. Winners will be announced on Earth Day, April 22, 2024.
For the middle and high school division, semi-finalists will receive a trip to Reston, Virginia, where they will present their proposals in person at the K12 headquarters. Finalists will be notified on Earth Day, April 22, 2024. Each member of the national winning team in grades 6th–8th and 9th–12th will receive a student trip with the Ecology Project.
People’s Choice Award
The People’s Choice Award for the elementary division will be determined by public voting during a two-week period in April 2024. All individuals are eligible to vote, and may vote twice per category, per day during the voting period. Members of the winning team will each receive a $50 Amazon e-gift card.
Middle and high school division public voting will commence during the live presentations. The voting link will be available on the morning of the live presentations and any individual will be eligible to vote once during the voting period. The People’s Choice winning team will receive a Microsoft Surface tablet for each team member.
That’s a Wrap
The 2024 K12 Innovation Challenge offers an exciting opportunity for students of all ages to unleash their creativity and make a positive impact on the environment. With six captivating themes to choose from, students can explore project ideas that address important issues such as habitat restoration, ocean vitality, future farming, endangered species, animal welfare and rescue, and community engagement.
The 2024 K12 Innovation Challenge is open to all students in grades K-12, and you don’t have attend a K12-powered school to participate. With two divisions for elementary and middle/high school students – all students are welcome to register!
By participating in this challenge, you’ll have the chance to change the planet with your big ideas. Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to contribute to a more sustainable future. The deadline for entries is January 16, 2024, be sure to register and submit your proposal before it’s too late!
If you would like more inspiration, check out the 2023 K12 Innovation Challenges winners!
You can register for the 2024 K12 Innovation Challenge by clicking here.