Parent Support Tips

Tip #1:  RELAX and take a deep breath

The Young Scientist Challenge is simple to enter.  But, “the video” you say!  Rest assured, even “the video” is easily managed by your independent and incredibly talented young scientist.  Read on for some helpful tips, tools, and video examples to help get your budding scientist started.

Tip #2:  Learn from the past

Watch some finalist video examples from previous years to understand what makes a winning video and to see the breadth of styles and approaches taken.

Tip #3:  Pick a topic with meaning

Passion and enthusiasm shine through in a video medium.  Make sure your child picks a topic for which they have a passion or a personal connection.

Tip #4:  Select equipment you know

No fancy video camera is needed.  We judge content, not video quality.  Videos do not need to be “produced” or have a high production value.  Many participants have used a cell phone or digital camera.  Encourage your child to use whatever device with which they feel most comfortable.

Tip #5:  Follow filmmaking basics

Prepare a speech/storyboard ahead of time to maximize the two minutes and use multiple locations, graphics, or the pan/zoom feature to increase visual interest.

Tip #6:  Edit like a pro

Encourage your child to film their solution explanation a few times so that they can choose the best take. They can even speed up sections to make their video fit within 2 minutes (if necessary) but be sure that the audio is still easy to understand. Lastly, remember that less is more - keep the video editing simple and warn them to not overuse transitions.

Tip #7:  Follow the checklist

The most common reason for disqualification is that a video runs over 2 minutes. Don’t make that mistake! Follow the video checklist closely:

  • Students should submit a video as a YouTube link by May 16, 2022 at 8:00pm ET. Before uploading your video, be sure it meets the following criteria:
    • Your video only contains your original ideas and work.
    • Your video does not have copyrighted or trademarked content.
    • Please make sure the title of your video is "3MYSC Submission - [Your Title]".
    • Your video is between 1-2 minutes in length.
    • Your video is uploaded to YouTube and published for public viewing and set to unlisted. Please note, do not set your video to private. (see for details)

Tip #8:  Be seen and heard

Young Scientist Challenge entries are judged on effectiveness of communication – so make sure your scientist is seen and heard!  Encourage them to speak slowly and clearly and if filming outdoors, account for the sun and background noise.

Tip #9:  Only use what makes sense for their idea

Using animation is fine, but certainly not required. Same goes for using a prototype. If it best fits their project, then incorporate one, but it is not required. Similarly, the video does not need to include an experiment; your student just needs to be able to explain the science, technology, engineering, and math behind their idea.

Tip #10:  Encourage independence

Consent to their participation, register them and then get out of their way!  Your bright and talented 5-8th grader is completely capable and will get a lot more out of the experience if they are the one leading the way.