More Academic Competitions for the Gifted

Academic competitions can provide higher level learning for gifted students. (Check the index in the right-hand column of this blog for more competitions.)

  • The National Geographic Bee—This is an educational program of the National Geographic Society. It is a nationwide geography competition for U.S. schools for grades 4–8, designed to encourage the teaching and study of geography.
  • National History Day Contest— Students in grades 6-12 discover and interpret historical topics related to an annual theme. They produce creative and scholarly projects in the form of exhibits, documentaries, historical papers, or performances.
  • National Spelling Bee—This is the one you've read about and seen in movies. It begins with a school competition and progresses to a national competition.
  • Word Masters Challenge—This is a classroom competition in language arts for grades 3-12. The emphasis is on vocabulary, analogies, and analytical reading.

Although many competitions are initiated at schools, homeschoolers often group together to participate. Some competitions are also available to individuals.

This is just the tip of the iceberg of competitions. Many others are available—some that are well run and some that are not. Find out as much as you can about each competition or contest before entering. Some ways to find competitions are to
  • Explore your favorite search engine on the Internet. Search the words "competitions" or "contests" and add the words of the subject in which you are interested (i.e., art, French, writing, etc.). You might even try adding the name of your city or state.
  • Academic Competitions is compiled by the Center for Talented Youth at Johns Hopkins University. It is organized by subject area.
  • Book: Competitions for Talented Kids: Win Scholarships, Big Prize Money, and Recognition—This is a treasure trove of information on selecting, entering, and competing in national contests. It also features complete information on who to contact, how to enter, prizes, judging criteria, contest origin, significant dates, and tips from the contest organizers themselves.

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