Ivy Seed Computer Science Competitions Guide 2018-2019

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Dec. 3.    5 min read


Competitions are a great way for motivated students to learn more and meet other students who are also interested in STEM. Below are some computer science-related competitions for elementary, middle, and high school students.

THINK(High school)

THINK is a science research and innovation competition for high school students who have done extensive research on the background of a potential research project and are looking for additional guidance in the early stages of their project. The program is organized by a group of undergraduates at MIT. Selected finalists will receive up to $1000 in funding for their project and are invited to a four-day all-expenses paid trip to MIT’s campus where they meet professors in their field of research, tour labs, attend MIT’s x Fair. Applications for the 2018- 2019 competition will be opening in mid-October, so check their website for updates!https://think.mit.edu

American Computer Science League Contests (High school)

ACSL organizes computer science contests and computer programming contests for elementary, junior, and senior high school students. The first contest is on December 21, 2018.www.acls.org


Cutler-Bell Prize (High school)

The ACM/CSTA Cutler-Bell Prize in High School Computing is a prize designed to recognize talented high school students intending to continue their higher education in the areas of computer science or technology. The program seeks to promote and encourage the field of computer science, as well as to empower young and aspiring learners to pursue computing challenges outside of the traditional classroom environment. Up to four winners will be selected and each will be awarded a $10,000 scholarship prize. Applications for the award close January 5, 2018. https://www.csteachers.org/page/CutlerBell

USA Computing Olympiad (High school)

The International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI), the most prestigious international computing contest at the high school level, was launched in 1989 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), designed in the spirit of several other prominent high-school olympiads. The 2018 USA Computing Olympiad just completed earlier this month, but you can learn more at http://www.usaco.org/index.php

TSA Competitions (Middle school & High school)

The Technology Student Association (TSA) is a national organization of students engaged in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Open to students enrolled in or who have completed technology education courses, TSA’s membership includes more than 250,000 middle and high school students across the United States. TSA competitions include categories such as Biotechnology Design, Career Prep, Coding, Digital Photography, Dragster Design, Flight, Leadership Strategies, Medical Technology, Prepared Presentation, Software Development, Technology Problem Solving, Video Game Design, Webmaster, and much more. Learn more about the TSA Competitions at http://tsaweb.org/tsa

Google Code-in (Middle school & High school)

Google Code-in is a contest to introduce students (ages 13-17) to open source software development. Open source organizations chosen by Google provide a list of tasks for students to work on during the 7 weeks contest period. A unique part of the contest is that each task has mentors from the organization assigned should students have questions or need help along the way. The contest begins October 23, 2018. https://codein.withgoogle.com


NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing (AiC) 

NCWIT Aspirations in Computing (AiC) provides a long-term community for female technologists, from K-12 through higher education and beyond, encouraging persistence in computing through continuous engagement and ongoing encouragement at each pivotal stage of their educational and professional development. Additionally, they gain exclusive access to scholarships, internships, and job opportunities. Women in grades 9 through 12 who are active and interested in computing and technology are eligible to apply by November 5, 2018. https://www.aspirations.org/participate/high-school


FIRST Competitions (K-12)


The mission of FIRST® is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders and innovators, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering, and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.


Jr.* is designed to introduce STEM concepts to kids ages 6 to 10 while exciting them through a brand they know and love − LEGO®. Guided by two or more adult Coaches, FIRST LEGO League* teams (up to 10 members, grades 4-8**) research a real-world problem such as food safety, recycling, energy, etc., and are challenged to develop a solution. They also must design, build, program a robot using LEGO MINDSTORMS®, then compete on a table-top playing field.

FIRST Tech Challenge 

Teams (10+ members, grades 7-12) are challenged to design, build, program, and operate robots to compete in a head-to-head challenge in an alliance format. Participants call it “the hardest fun you’ll ever have!”

Learn more about the FIRST Competitions at https://www.firstinspires.org/


National Robotics Challenge (All Level & Age) 

The National Robotics Challenge is designed to provide students of all ages and levels of study the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of manufacturing processes, controls, robotics, and other technologies through competitive engineering contests. Students are judged on their application of technology principles, engineering concepts, and their ability to solve real-world problems through a team approach. The 2019 competition is Thursday, Friday and Saturday, April 11, 12 & 13, 2019. You can register by January 11, 2019 at www.thenrc.org


RoboCup is an annual international robotics competition proposed and founded in 1996 by a group of university professors. The aim of such a competition consists of promoting robotics and AI research, by offering a publicly appealing, but formidable challenge. http://www.robocup.org

Hash Code 

Hash Code is a team programming competition organized by Google for students and industry professionals across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. You pick your team and programming language, and Google picks an engineering problem for you to solve. Registration has not opened yet for the 2019 Hash Code, but you can sign up for notifications at https://hashcode.withgoogle.com/

Code Jam 

Code Jam calls on programmers around the world to put their skills to the test by solving multiple rounds of algorithmic puzzles. The online rounds conclude in the World Finals, which rotates globally. In addition to being challenging and fun, Code Jam problems can help you develop your coding and programming skills. The 2018 Code Jam Finals just completed in August, but you can begin preparing for 2019 at https://code.google.com/codejam/

Faces of Computing 

CSTA’s Faces of Computing contest is an annual competition designed to showcase how creative students use video to highlight the ways that computing is used to make the world better. Every year the committee chooses a theme that the videos should illustrate. For example, the theme for 2015 was “Computing for the Common Good” and encouraged students to showcase how computing is used to better the world. https://csteachers.org/page/FOC

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