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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the NIH LAB Challenge?

The NIH K–12 LAB Challenge is a call to the nation to help us bring engaging hands—on science into the classroom — so everyone can enjoy doing science! We're asking people to send us their best experiments for kindergarten through 12th-grade classrooms. We'll collect these written procedures and make them available to everyone for free. Your experiment can be original or modified from another source. (If modified, we'll need to know the source.)

Who is issuing the Challenge?

The Science Education Resource Group (SERG) is issuing the challenge. SERG is composed of members representing all the NIH institutes and centers. Members of the group have an interest in science education, and most have related programs and resources.

Who can participate in the challenge?

Anyone can participate in this challenge, as long as they live in the United States, a U.S. Territory, or a U.S. Dept. of Defense facility overseas. To submit a procedure for an experiment, though, you need to be at least 13 years old. People under 18 will need parental or guardian consent.

NIH and other federal employees are eligible to participate in this challenge.

How do I enter?

Follow the instructions at "How to Enter."

How many procedures for experiments can I submit?

There is no limit to the number of procedures you can submit. Just be sure to follow the entry guidelines for each one.

Must I fill out a separate form for each experiment I submit?

Yes. Each will be judged separately for consideration in our future free publication.

What is a "learning objective"?

A learning objective is a statement that describes the knowledge or skills that a student should be able to attain following a lesson (or in this case, a science experimental procedure).

How will the submissions be judged?

A panel of classroom teachers, students, scientists, and NIH science education personnel will use a rubric to score the entries and select winners.

NIH will conduct an independent safety review of the candidate winning experiments before the final selection and announcement of the winners. Experiments that use hazardous materials or bodily fluids will not be accepted.

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What would eliminate my experiment(s) from consideration?

Experiments that do not follow the guidelines or do not have all the necessary entry documents will be eliminated from consideration. Experiments that use hazardous materials or bodily fluids will not be accepted.

How many winners will there be for the challenge?

There is no set limit to the number of winners for the challenge.

What can I win?

Winners will earn recognition and an official, exclusive, electronic NIH Challenge badge to display online. Winners will be announced March 1, 2012.

What will happen to the winning submissions?

Winning submissions will be included in our NIH collection of the best procedures, which people all over the world can access. It will be available for free in print, online, and on mobile devices from the NIH Office of Science Education Web site.

How/when can I get a copy of the winning procedures?

Winning submissions will be available for free in print, online, and on mobile devices from the NIH Office of Science Education Web site. They will be available at the time the winners are announced, or shortly thereafter.

How can I find out why my entry did not win?

Contact the NIH Office of Science Education at LAB@science.education.nih.gov or call 301-402-2469. For updates about the challenge and other education activities at NIH, follow us on Twitter: @NIHSciEd.

How can I get help if I have any questions or problems?

Please review our frequently asked questions (FAQs). Your question may already have been answered. If it hasn't, contact the NIH Office of Science Education at LAB@science.education.nih.gov or call 301-402-2469.

For updates about the challenge and other education activities at NIH, follow us on Twitter: @NIHSciEd.

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