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Special Project

Special Project
From the 4th Annual Shorty Social Good Awards

3M Young Scientist Lab & 3M Young Scientist Challenge

Silver Honor in STEM


The mission of the 3M Young Scientist Lab is to foster a new generation of scientists who are inspired to improve the world with science. For teachers, students and parents seeking a place to explore the world of scientific innovations, this interactive portal is filled with engaging activities and standards-aligned teaching tools, anchored by the award-winning annual 3M Young Scientist Challenge.

The Challenge is an effort to help cultivate a generation of great thinkers, innovators and science communicators. The Challenge targets students in grades 5-8, the years in which their interest in science begins to wane, and encourages them to explore scientific concepts and creatively communicate their findings. The Challenge exemplifies 3M and Discovery Education’s commitment to encouraging innovation and dedication to improving student achievement in science.     

As part of the program, students nationwide are challenged to create a video describing a solution that could solve an everyday problem. Ten finalists are then chosen to participate in an exclusive mentorship program where they work one-on-one with a 3M scientist. The competition culminates with a two-day final event at 3M’s World Headquarters where one student wins $25,000 and is named “America’s Top Young Scientist.” 

3M’s brand platform – 3M Science. Applied to Life. ™ –emphasizes how 3M’s science impacts the world around us. The platform was designed to generate a conversation about 3M and emphasize the ways that 3M science helps make lives better. The Challenge supports this platform, encouraging our youngest generation to develop STEM-based solutions to real-world problems.

Strategy and Execution

Available at no cost to educators, parents and student the 3M Young Scientist Lab offers:

To raise awareness around the 3M Young Scientist Challenge, as well as 3M and Discovery Education’s leadership in education and STEM, Discovery Education and 3M executed a holistic strategy to proactively reach out to national consumer, trade and local consumer outlets in an effort to secure positive press coverage and build awareness of the program and the importance of STEM education. A press release announcing the call for entries was issued to both English and Spanish – language media outlets in an effort to encourage students from diverse backgrounds to apply and build awareness of the competition among underrepresented communities.

Additional marketing strategies included: An increased focus on STEM messaging in all outreach, highlighting the importance of STEM education; collaboration with Discovery’s family of networks including on-air exposure bringing the 3M YSC brand message to life; Reaching students in the science fair space through a partnership with Science Olympiad (English and Spanish toolkits for their audiences, social/e-newsletter promotion); and e-mail promotion to critical education stakeholders including PTA/PTO leads, science directors, gifted & talented coordinators, additional online media and e-newsletter features with partners such as Great Schools, The Home School Mom and Science Buddies, social media campaign across DE’s social handles of former finalists encouraging various grade levels to participate in the 2019 challenge and providing tips and tricks to submitting an engaging video submission, engagement from key Discovery talent during the finalist announcement including former Mythbuster Adam Savage, among others.



Entrant Company / Organization Name

Discovery Education, Discovery Education


Entry Credits