Young Minds and Big Ideas Can Save the Planet!

Do you have a student in grades K–12 interested in protecting the environment? Encourage them to enter the K12 Innovation Challenge! They can work individually or as teams of up to three to submit a proposal for solutions in one of the six theme areas:

Habitat Restoration

Ocean Vitality

Future Farm

Endangered Species

Animal Welfare & Rescue

Community Engagement

How to Enter

Pick a Team

Students can work individually or as a team of up to three.

Choose a Category

Select one of this year's six (6) themes.

Write a Pitch

Each entry must include a short, 6–7 sentence pitch with their idea.

Win Big With Innovative Solutions!

Elementary Division

Learn more.

Prizes will be awarded to the top projects in the Elementary Division.

Middle School and High School Divisions

Learn more.

Students with the top proposals in each theme from the Middle School and High School Divisions will be invite to present at the K12 headquarters in Reston, Virginia. Finalists will compete for exciting prizes, including a student trip with the Ecology Project.

A people' Choice Award will be presented to the team in each divisions with the most public votes.

Need Inspiration?

See project examples, judging criteria, and prizes.

Registration deadline is 11:59 PM (ET) on January 16, 2024.

Please note, students must submit a short pitch – 6 or 7 sentences – when they register. They’ll have an opportunity to expand their idea and submit a full proposal or project by January 31, 2024. Parents or guardians must register on behalf of students who are age 13 or under.

2024 Competition Schedule

Jan. 16

Registration & Pitch Ideas Submission Deadline

Jan. 31

Proposal Submission Deadline

Feb. 5-16

Round 1 Judging

Feb. 19-April 1

Round 2 Judging

Earth Day, April 22

Finalists Notified & Elementary Division Winners Announced


Middle School and High School Finalists Present Proposals In-Person

Meet our partners!

Representatives from our partners will serve on the competition's panel of judges.

Exploring by the Seat of Your Pants brings those on the frontlines of science, animals, exploration, conservation, and adventure live into the classroom.

Clearwater Marine Aquarium believes in preserving our environment while inspiring the human spirit through leadership in the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of marine life; environmental education; research; and conservation.

Ecology Project International (EPI) is a nonprofit organization that seeks to engage local communities in youth development, leadership, and habitat conservation through science-focused travel programs for students and teachers.

Unleashing Ingenuity: Innovation Challenge Details!

The K12 National Innovation Challenge is open to all students in grades K–12. Students enrolled at K12-powered schools or any other school in the U.S. can submit their proposal to be considered. Parents or guardians must register on behalf of students who are age 13 or under.

Students can submit a proposal individually, as a pair, or as a team of three.

Students interested in participating should begin by completing the registration form, including a short pitch (6 or 7 sentences) for their solution in 1 of the 6 theme areas. Registration must be completed by 11:59 PM (ET) on January 16, 2024.

Once registered, students will receive an email with access to a proposal template and the link to submit their full proposal by January 31, 2024.

Each proposal must be original in concept, design, and execution and may not violate U.S. copyright laws. Any entry copied or created by someone other than the student violates the competition rules and will not be accepted.

Proposals can be submitted in Word or PPT format. Google Docs or Slides are also acceptable. The proposal must be created solely by the entering team.

All proposals must be received no later than 11:59 PM (ET) on January 31, 2024. Proposals submitted after the deadline will not be eligible to win.

Click here for judging criteria and prizes for the Elementary Division and here for judging criteria and prizes for the Middle School and High School Division.

Please see here for the rules and regulations related to our competition. These terms and conditions must be agreed to when registering for the Innovation Challenge.

Stay in-the-know.

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