Special Competitions

Here are some special Grades 9-12 Science competitions and awards you may be interested in trying for!  Please also check out the full list of available Awards.

Energy & Sustainability Competition

Any science project that is about energy or sustainability will be eligible to win an iPod for both the student and sponsoring adult.

Genius Science Olympiad

The Genius Science Olympiad is a competition using scientific knowledge to provide understanding and solutions to environmental problems. Students are expected to present a solution using scientific methods for a problem that fits into one of the following categories:

Environmental Quality – This category encompasses the study of assessing, analyzing, and providing solutions to the problems of environmental pollution, such as: air, water, soil, and noise pollution; as well as their potential effects on the health of all organisms, including humans. The Genius Olympiad is looking for solutions to problems related to indoor and outdoor air quality; the health effects of air, water, soil, radiation, and noise pollution; pollution management; the measurement of pollution; waste water treatment and remediation; the effects of radiation; and more.

Biology and Ecodiversity – This category encompasses the study of plant and animal populations, plant and animal communities, and the network of relations among organisms. The Genius Olympiad seeks solutions to problems related to the movement of food, resources, and energy through living communities; the assessment of the value of local ecosystems; the effects of populations on ecosystems; the destruction of habitat and its effects on the health of living organisms, including humans; genetic pollution, hybridization and their effects on food security and biodiversity; and more.

Resource and Energy – This category encompasses the study of energy sources, such as mineral, water, wood, coal, oil, gas, nuclear, wind, sun, and soil sources, including efforts to increase their efficiency in producing energy and to reduce the impact of their use on the environment. The Genius Olympiad is looking for solutions to problems related to responsible use of non-renewable natural resources; efficient use of non-renewable natural sources; the contribution of non-renewable natural sources to global warming; the efficient use of renewable natural sources; soil degradation, erosion, and remediation; the efficient use of water resources, and more.

Human Ecology – This category encompasses the study of the relationship between humans and their natural, social, and built environments, the effects of environmental changes on human behavior, and the effects of human behavior on the environment. The world of humans is inextricably connected with the environment. The Genius Olympiad is seeking solutions to problems related to society and its knowledge about sustainability; social changes that affect the environment; social justice in regard to access to education and quality of life; education about the environment and sustainability; the business and economics of sustainability; society and energy usage; developing a sustainable low-waste society; social behavior involving recycling, reuse, and waste reduction programs; social views about environmental regulations, policies and programs; and more.

International Science and Engineering Fair Competition 

The International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) Competition Award is the major award for the high school science division. It is presented to an individual student in ninth through twelfth grade whose science exhibit is considered the most outstanding body of work entered in the current Mastodon Fair. The award consists of an all-expense paid trip to the International Science and Engineering Fair.

The International Science and Engineering Fair is held every year during May. Hundreds of students from the United States and around the world compete for scholarships and many other prizes. Visit the Intel ISEF website for additional information.

Rules and Procedures REQUIRED for the ISEF Local Competition

  • Student has met the eligibility requirements of the Mastodon Fair.
  • Student must be in grades 9-12.
  • A student must submit a single science exhibit that will be displayed and judged along with other science exhibits. This exhibit MUST comply with the rules and guidelines of the Mastodon Fair and the ISEF Rules and Regulations.


The ISEF judging committee will review the science exhibits in the high school division and determine the five finalists. The finalists will be notified through the contact person designated on the registration form.

The finalists must be available for the Finalist Interview at a specified time. If a finalist cannot be present for the Finalist Interview, the student is disqualified from the ISEF competition. See this year’s calendar for the scheduled interview time.

Finalists should be prepared to answer questions that deal with the following: their thoughts about their science exhibit, subject matter, materials and techniques, how their work was developed, future plans, and why they want to compete at ISEF.

Finalist Judging Criteria:

  • Technical Skills
  • Originality
  • Extent of knowledge on subject matter

All finalists should be present and will receive recognition at the Awards Ceremony, where the winner and runner-up will be announced. In the event that the winner is unable to take the trip in May, the runner-up may take the trip instead.