Submission Categories 

What problem facing our community do you want to help solve? For what issue do you want to raise awareness? What's gonna blow their minds? In past events, winners have investigated whether vegans have a sense of humor, and developed software in an attempt to pass the Turing Test. Here's your chance to make 'em think, make 'em laugh, and make a lasting impression. Our categories follow the STEAM! rubric, according to the NGSS Scientific and Engineering Practices & Crosscutting Concepts plus an additional topic.

This year our rotating grand prize category is Lake Michigan! Any projects addressing Lake Michigan issues will be considered for the grand prize. Participants may submit to this and one other category when registering.



All category winners will receive:

1. Certificate celebrating your win! 

2. Science Strikes Back swag like a t-shirt

3. A virtual meet and greet with a University of Wisconsin scientist working on a national science project with your fellow winners!*

4. Entry to present your science again at the University of Wisconsin Science Expeditions Open House in April 2021.*

* Thank you to the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation for their prize donations and support.

We welcome donations for prizes. You can donate by going to our sponsor page.

Grand Prize winners will each receive a Fyxation Bicycle!

For class-wide submissions, only presenters (up to 3) will receive bicycles.


Bikes provided by Fyxation were awarded to the 2020 Grand Prize Winners.

temperature of trees.JPG

This project asked if gymnosperm or angiosperm trees were warmer. They entered into the technology category since they used an infrared thermometer and a handheld weather station to collect their data.

Weird Sci.png
lake michigan icon for ssb.png
Science: Science of Food

Asking questions (for science); Constructing explanations (for science)

Did you get into baking while you were in quarantine? Why do some recipes succeed and others fail? How does where we affect what we eat? Employ the scientific method to show us new and interesting ways of making our community more sustainable, when it comes to food.

Technology: Use the right tool

Engaging in argument from evidence; Planning and carrying out investigations

Think about where we were 10 years ago, right when the iPhone was still new. Now think about where we'll be in 2029. What's on the horizon, and how will it make our lives better? Share your vision of the world to come. 

Engineering: Solutions-based design

Defining problems (for engineering) and designing solutions (for engineering)

Design a better community with outcomes that benefit as many of your neighbors as possible. From city planning to civil engineering, we want to see how you'll solve problems and overcome hurdles for an improved society.

Art: Science is beautiful

Developing and using models; patterns

Both science and art are about creating a language that interprets the world around us that can be understood by others. Let's see how scientific insights and discoveries manifest themselves with your artistic take. Bonus points if you solve a problem or discover something new along the way. 

Math: Driven by data

Analyzing and interpreting data; Using mathematics and computational thinking

Numbers can tell a compelling scientific story. Collect data to give us an idea about what's happening and maybe even why. Put your theories to the test and get objective, hard numbers that demonstrate what's going on around us.

!: Weird science

Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information; Systems and system models

Have an idea that's a little removed from our STEAM categories? Let's get weird. Be sure your experiment is rooted in the scientific method with empirical research... but go nuts. No idea is too far out there or crazy.

Lake Michigan 

Grand Prize Category

This year's rotating grand prize category! Are you doing a project on rainwater run-off? Or wastewater treatment? What about community uses and recreation of water? Teach us about how you connect and care for our Great Lake.

Submissions may be entered into this and one other category.