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NASA Space Spinoff Contest

Optimus Prime Spinoff and Research Challenge

Who: Students in grades 3-12

What: NASA contest

Submissions due: Feb. 10, 2017

Look around. Can you spot any everyday items came from space?

That question lies at the heart of NASA’s Optimus Prime Spinoff and Research Challenge, a contest that asks students in grades 3 to 12 to identify and dream up a new purpose for technology first developed for a space mission.

Once kids start looking, they’ll be amazed at how many products started sprang from NASA’s research. The list includes memory foam, invisible braces, firefighting equipment, artificial limbs, scratch-resistant lenses, aircraft anti-icing systems, shoe insoles, water filters/purification, cochlear implants, satellite TV, long-distance telecommunications… and Transformers! Check out NASA’s spinoff YouTube channel detailing some of the agency’s technologies now in commercial use.

Challenges are tailored for the elementary (3-5), middle (6-8), and high (9-12) school age groups.

Elementary students will test their skills by changing an everyday object into something that will make the world a better place. Middle school students will expand their understanding of NASA Spinoff technology by developing their own Spinoff ideas. And high school students will work with college mentors and focus on the James Webb Space Telescope technology for their Spinoff ideas, creating models and visual representations within a 3-D, multi-user virtual world environment.

To display their research and ideas for innovations, students will use a combination of text, images, and videos to create a Glogster Multimedia Poster.  This poster will be submitted and the student ideas will be shared with NASA.

Past winners have included middle school girls who designed a compact tent that uses phase-change material to shelter refugees and homeless people.

For each challenge:

  • Ten Glogster Digital Design posters will be selected for nationwide voting to determine the public’s favorite poster!
  • ONE winning elementary and middle school Glog will be selected by NASA personnel using rubrics provided at the OPSPARC website.

For the high school challenge:

20 teams will be selected for the InWorld OPSPARC experience, where they will work with a college engineering and/or entrepreneur mentor and interact with NASA scientists in a 3-D multi-user virtual world to develop their design!

Click HERE to see last year’s winning submissions.

Click HERE for scoring rubrics, downloadable flyer, letter to parents, and other forms.

For full competition details for the 2017 NASA OPSPARC Challenge, please visit:

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