According to the National Sleep Foundation, without the recommended 9-11 hours of sleep, students are more likely to experience behavior problems, from rule breaking to depression and anxiety. Students who are well-rested are more creative, have more self-control and perform better in school.

The National Sleep Foundation and the National Science Teachers Association recently launched the Bright Schools Competition and are looking for bright ideas from grade 6-8 students to better understand the link among light, sleep, and student health and performance.

As part of the competition, U.S. and Canadian students will select a topic related to light and sleep and select one of three exploration options to create an original project. Students can develop a prototype, design an awareness campaign, or write a research proposal.

The deadline for project submission is Feb. 6, 2017, so students have a while to put together the best possible entry.

The contest website provides the judging rubric that will be used:

  • Rationale: 15 points
    Clearly identify the source of inspiration for the project. Ensure that the project idea is relevant to the identified community within the paper. Support the idea chosen with robust independent research.
  • Project Description, Scientific Accuracy, and Content: 35 points
    Overall scientific content and accuracy. How well the details of the project are communicated in the written project. Use of scientific thinking when providing an overview of the project and includes a description of the potential impact (both pros and cons) to the highlighted community. Incorporation of an innovative and/or creative approach within the project.
  • Next Steps: 15 points
    Propose potential next steps of the project if given more time and resources. Utilize evidence and critical thinking supported by factual evidence.
  • Bibliography: 10 points
    All sources used in researching the paper and video must be referenced in the Bibliography. Sources must be clearly labeled and should conform to MLA or APA citation standards. The Bibliography may be up to three pages in length and should include at least five sources, students should strive for variety.
  • Video: 25 points
    The video should be no longer than three minutes in length. The video should be comprised of a short summary that supports the written documentation of the project and explain the exploration process. Visual aids of the exploration chosen, diagrams, posters, etc., are strongly encouraged. Use of artifact evidence, innovation, and creativity is also evaluated in this section.

According to contest rules, all entrants must be U.S. or Canadian citizens or legal residents, living within the United States, U.S. Territories or Canada and enrolled full time in a public, private, charter, parochial, or home school. Students must be currently enrolled in either sixth, seventh, or eighth grade and under the age of 18. Each team must have a coach: a teacher or adult over the age of 21 that administers education of the light lessons, mentors the team, and is affiliated with the local school system. A parent may not be the teacher/coach of a team on which his or her child is a member. Teachers/coaches must attest that submissions consist of solely student work.

To enter the competition, click here. To view past contest winners, click here. You can follow the competition on Facebook and Twitter.

Read More About
No Category Set!
More Topics
Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk's Assistant Copy & Production Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.