The New York Times readers know their Science, Health and Technology sections explore scientific topics that are written in a way everyone can understand. Now The New York Times Learning Network wants to know what questions middle and high schoolers have about how the world works as part of The NY Times STEM Writing Contest.
About The New York Times STEM Writing Contest
The 4th annual The New York Times STEM Writing Contest invites students who love science, technology, engineering, math, and health to enter this year’s contest by choosing an issue or question and writing a 500-word explanation by February 15, 2023.
Having your writing published by The New York Times Learning Network and seeing your name appear with your article! Keep reading for more information about the contest, examples, and free teacher resources.
For STEM loving teens who love to write, writing text about a topic they are passionate about probably won’t be too difficult. Those who want to tackle The NY Times STEM Writing Contest but don’t know where to start might find these prompts from The Learning Network helpful:
- What science, technology, engineering, math or health questions might be inspired by your own life or experiences?
- What innovations, processes or problems in any of these areas puzzle or intrigue you?
- What concepts in STEM — whether from biology, physics, psychology, computer science, algebra or calculus — have you learned about, in or out of school, that might be useful or fun to explain to others?
Teens submitting entries will need to explain their chosen topic to a general audience in a way that not only helps The New York Times journalists understand but engages and allows them to see why it’s important in 500 words or less.
The New York Times provides these three examples as pieces that are written to get our attention:
- What makes sea dragons so strange?
- How did chewing shape human evolution?
- Why do thunderstorms occur much less frequently over the ocean than over land?
Through these stories, The New York Times gives us “news we can use.” These examples explore “something fascinating in a way that makes it easy to understand and shows us why it matters.” They’re wonderful pieces designed to inspire teen writers.
The New York Times STEM Writing Contest Teacher Resources
Writing informational text is an invaluable skill for all students. Teachers can use these free resources from The Learning Network to to help their students be successful:
- An Informational Writing Unit
- A teacher background sheet on science journalism and a “Think Like a Science Journalist” activity guide for students, both created by Science News Learning.
- Webinar on YouTube that teaches informational writing with The New York Times
- Mentor texts demonstrating three important elements of STEM writing: hooking the reader, quoting and paraphrasing experts and research and explaining why a topic matters
- Examples of STEM writers discussing their writing process
- Articles by the winners of last year’s contest and 2021 and 2020 winners
- Contest rubric
Teachers, please note The New York Times STEM Writing Contest requires all students to have a parent or guardian complete the Parent/Guardian Permission section before submitting their entry.
This contest is a collaboration with the Society for Science, publisher of Science News, a source of independent nonprofit journalism on the latest in science, medicine and technology since 1921, Science News Explores and the Science News Learning program. No compensation was received for this post.