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Academic Competitions for Gifted Students

Academic Competitions for Gifted Students
A Resource Book for Teachers and Parents

Second Edition

November 2007 | 192 pages | Corwin

"The book makes an excellent case for competitions as a means to meet the educational needs of gifted students at a time when funding has significantly decreased."
—Joan Smutny, Gifted Specialist, National-Louis University
Author of Acceleration for Gifted Learners, K–5

"The authors are knowledgeable and respected experts in the field of gifted education. I believe there is no other book that provides this valuable information to teachers, parents, and coordinators of gifted programs."
—Barbara Polnick, Assistant Professor
Sam Houston State University

Everything you need to know about academic competitions!

This handy reference serves as a guide for using academic competitions as part of K–12 students' total educational experience. Covering 170 competitions in several content areas, this handbook offers a brief description of each event plus contact and participation information. The authors list criteria for selecting events that match students' strengths and weaknesses and also discuss:

  • The impact of competitions on the lives of students
  • Ways to anticipate and avoid potential problems
  • Strategies for maximizing the benefits of competitions
  • Access to international and national academic competitions

This second edition offers twice as many competitions as the first, provides indexes by title and by subject area and level, and lists Web sites for finding additional competitions.

Introduction: Making Decisions About Competitive Programs for Gifted Students
How to Use This Book

Characteristics of Good Competitions

About the Authors
1. Selecting, Preparing for, and Participating in Competitions
Selected Characteristics and Needs of Gifted and Talented Students

How They Influence Contest Participation

Effects of Competition: Good News

Effects of Competition: Bad News

How to Anticipate and Avoid Problems in the Use of Competitions

How to Maximize Benefits From Competitions


2. Competition Descriptions
AAA High School Travel Challenge

AATSP Elementary/Middle School Poster Contest

Academic Decathlon

Academic Games Leagues of America National Tournament

Academic Triathlon

Achievement Awards in Writing

All-USA High School Academic Team Competition

Alliance for Young Artists and Writers Scholastic Art and Writing Awards

Amateur Poetry Contest

American Computer Science League

American Enterprise Speech Contest

American History Essay Contest

American Invitational Mathematics Exam

American Mathematics Competitions

American Mathematics Contest 8

American Regions Mathematics League

American Scholastics Mathematics Competition

American Society of Newspaper Editors, Quill and Scroll International Writing, Photo Contest

American Veterans (AMVETS) Americanism Program

Ann Arlys Bowler Poetry Contest

Arts Recognition and Talent Search

Association of Educational Publishers (AEP) Student Publishing Awards

Ayn Rand Essay Contest

Baker’s Plays High School Playwriting Contest

BEST Robotics Competition

Biz Plan Competition

Botball Robotics

Canadian Open Mathematics Challenge

Cane Writing Contest

Chemistry Olympiad

Christopher Columbus Awards

Civic Education Project – Civic Week

Clarke-Bradbury Science Fiction Competition

Classical Association of New England

Community Innovation

Concord Review Emerson Prize

Continental Mathematics League

Creative Writing Essay Contest

Cricket League Contest

Destination Imagination

Discovery Channel Young Scientist Challenge

Doors to Diplomacy

DuPont Challenge Science Essay Awards Program

Duracell/NSTA Scholarship Competition


Edventures Robotics Contest

EngineerGirl Essay Contest

(Toshiba NSTA)/ExploraVision Awards Program

Federal Reserve Bank FED CHALLENGE

Federal Reserve Bank Student Essay Contest

Fire Fighting Robot Contest

First Middle-Grade Novel Contest

FIRST Robotics Competition

First Step to Nobel Prize in Physics

First Young Adult Novel

Foundations for Life National Essay Program & Contest

Frazier Institute Student Essay Contest

Freedom Foundation National Awards Program

Future City Competition

Future Problem Solving Program

George S. & Stella M. Knight Essay Contest

Harry Singer Foundation Essay Contests

Harvard-MIT Mathematics Tournament

High School Communications Competition

“Idea of America” Essay Contest

Intel International Science and Engineering Fair

Intel Science Talent Search

International Brain Bee

International Mathematics Olympiad

International Student Media Festival

Invent America!

Invitational Mathematics Examination

Jane Austen Society of North America’s Essay Contest

Japan Bowl

JFK Profiles in courage Essay Contest

Joseph S. Rumbaugh Historical Oration Contest

Junior Engineering Technical Society, Tests of Engineering Aptitude, Mathematics, and Science

Junior Science and Humanities Symposia

Kids Are Authors

Kids Can Write Contest

Kids Philosophy Slam

KidsBookshelf Contests

Knowledge Master Open (KMO)

Laws of Life Essay Contest

League of American Poets Free Poetry Contest

Let’s Get Real

Letters about Literature Competition

Mandelbrot Competition

Manningham Student Poetry Awards


Mathematical Olympiads for Elementary Schools

Math Leagues

Medusa Mythology Exam

Merlyn's Pen Literary Magazine Contest and Critique

Modern Woodmen of America School Speech


NASA Space Settlement Contest

National Achievement® Scholarship Program

National African American History Academic Challenge Bowl

National American Indian Science and Engineering Fair

National Beta Club Convention

National Biblical Greek Exam

National Canon Envirothon

National Catholic Forensic League Grand National Speech and Debate Tournament

National Council on Economic Education and Goldman Sachs Foundation Economics Challenge

National Consumers League: LifeSmarts

National Engineering Design Challenge (JWOD/JETS)

National Federation of Press Women High School Communications Contest

National Forensic League, National Tournament

National French Contest, Le Grand Concours

National Geography Bee

National German Test

National Greek Exam

National High School Oratorical Contest

National High School Student Solar Design Contest

National History Day

National Latin Exam

National Mythology Exam

National Peace Essay Contest

National Portuguese Exam

National Schools Project Poetry Contest

National Science Bowl®

National Science Decathlon

National Science Olympiad

National Spanish Exam

National Vocabulary Championship

National Women’s Hall of Fame Essay and New Media Contest

National Young Astronomer Award

Nob Yoshigahara Puzzle Design Competition

Odyssey of the Mind

Ohio State University Press The Journal Award in Poetry

Olympiad of Spoken Russian

Panasonic Academic Challenge

Physics Bowl

President’s Environmental Youth Awards

Program to Recognize Excellence in Student Literary Magazines

Promising Young Writers

Prudential Spirit of Community Awards

Quill and Scroll Society, International Writing, Photo Contest

Scholastic Art and Writing Awards

Science Olympiad

Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee

Sea World/Busch Gardens/Fujifilm Environmental Excellence Awards

Shanghai American School's NAQT Asian Championship

Siemens Foundation Competition in Math, Science, and Technology

Society of Professional Journalists High School Essay Contest

Student Science Fiction and Fantasy Contest

Thespian Playworks


National Society of Black Engineers TRY-MATH-A-LON Competition

U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad

USA Biology Olympiad (USABO)

USA Computing Olympiad

USA Mathematical Olympiad

USA Mathematical Talent Search

UNA-USA National High School Essay Contest

Vegetarian Resource Group Essay

Veteran’s of Foreign Wars of the United States’ Patriot’s Pen

Veterans of Foreign Wars, Voice of Democracy Program

VSA arts Playwright Discovery Program

Weekly Mathematics Contest

Weekly Reader’s “What’s Your Story” Student Publishing Awards

West Point Bridge Design Contest

WordMasters Challenge

Writer’s Digest Annual Writing Contest

Young Epidemiology Scholars (YES) Program

Young Naturalist Awards

Young Playwrights Festival

Web Sites for Finding Other Competitions
Index of Competitions by Title
Index of Competitions by Subject Area and Level

"The book makes an excellent case for competitions as a means to meet the educational needs of gifted students at a time when funding has significantly decreased."

Joan Smutny, Gifted Specialist, National-Louis University
Author of Acceleration for Gifted Learners, K-5

"The chapters are cohesive and well integrated."

Kay L. Gibson, Professor of Curriculum & Instruction
Wichita State University

"The authors are knowledgeable and respected experts in the field of gifted education. There is no other book that I am aware of that provides this valuable information to teachers, parents, and coordinators of gifted programs."

Barbara Polnick, Assistant Professor
Sam Houston State University

"A key resource perfect for anyone who would understand academic competitions for Grades K-12."

The Bookwatch, June 2008
Midwest Book Review
Key features

Academic Competitions for Gifted Students includes:

  • Criteria for selecting and implementing competitions that match students' strengths and weaknesses
  • A listing of competitions that has doubled in the second edition
  • Contests for minority populations as well as for students with special needs
  • Indexes of competitions by content area, grade level, and title with information on those that accept applications from home or from home schools
  • Web links for latest updates on competitions 

For instructors

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