Frost Science is excited to announce our first ever STEM Challenge, launching during the 2024-2025 academic year. This year-long challenge engages 11th and 12th grade students and teachers in a STEM focused investigation. The STEM Challenge culminates in a special event at the museum, where students present their work to content expert judges. Winning students will win scholarships to Florida public universities.


Participating students are tasked with completing an investigation aligned to one of the museum’s core science disciplines: marine science, health, astronomy and paleontology. Each year, a common theme is chosen as a lens through which students explore real-world questions developed by experts in these fields. Students choose a focus discipline (track) and work towards answering one of these questions by creating a model of their design solution.


2024-2025 STEM Challenge

Climate Mitigation and Adaptation

The problems presented by the STEM Challenge are based on a central theme. Each year, the theme of the STEM Challenge will change along with each STEM Challenge problem. The theme for the inaugural STEM Challenge is “Climate Mitigation and Adaptation.”

The issues arising from the rapidly changing climate have become and will continue to be prevalent in our daily lives. This year’s STEM Challenge theme prompts students to think about real-world problems that scientists are facing as a result of climate change, while encouraging them to think creatively about applicable solutions. Students can choose to answer questions relating to marine science, health, paleontology, or astronomy to explore climate issues and design innovative solutions.

  • Spring 2024: Registration opens
  • August 6, 2024: Professional learning for participating teachers
  • Fall 2024-Spring 2025: Classroom-based project work
  • Spring 2025: STEM Challenge event at Frost Science
  • June 2025: Winners chosen
  • Environmental Science
  • STEM Research Elective
  • Biology AP
  • Marine Science
  • Ecology
  • Health Science
  • Earth and Space Science Honors

Participating teachers will:  

  • Attend a professional learning workshop in summer 2024.
  • Use the resources provided to guide their students through the STEM
  • Challenge throughout the school year.
  • Receive a $500 stipend per classroom to purchase materials for student projects.

Participating students will:

  • Choose a track and question to answer.
  • Work in small groups or individually to complete the challenge.
  • Present their work to judges at the Frost Science STEM Challenge event day.
  • First, second and third place winners will receive a college scholarship.

Receive your MDCPS STE(A)M Designation through participation in this challenge with the following engagements:

  • Professional Learning Experience on August 6, 2024.
  • Free Field trip for 30 students to Frost Science.
  • Virtual Meet the Scientist opportunity.
  • Participation in STEM Challenge day.

Coming Soon!

Teachers who are interested in registering their classrooms should fill out this registration form:


STEM Challenge Advisory Board Members

The advisory board is comprised of experts in the field of STEM education, marine science, health, and paleontology. Their primary role is to guide the development of the STEM Challenge to ensure it is relevant to their fields and rigorous for students in high school.

Cary Woodruff, Ph.D., Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology
Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science

Cristian Carranza, Administrative Director (STEAM)
Miami-Dade County Public Schools

Douglas Roberts, Ph.D., President & CEO
Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science

Ian Enochs, Ph.D., Biologist
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Jayvyn Stewart, Student
Upward Bound Math-Science (UBMS)

Kate Lampen-Sachar, M.D., Radiologist
Baptist Health

Kim Mendelson, Trustee
Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science Board of Trustees

Lacey Soriano, Environmental Science Teacher
Braddock High School

Leslie Nisbet, Ph.D., Associate Director of FIU Teach, Associate Chair, Department of Teaching and Learning
Florida International University

Andres Chavez Palma, Organizer

Frequently Asked Questions


The STEM Challenge is a brand-new science-based competition for 11th and 12th grade students hosted by Frost Science. This competition is an engineering design challenge for students in Miami-Dade County and provides an alternative to a traditional science fair, with students designing solutions to real-world environmental issues.

Yes! Although the challenge is geared towards 11th and 12th grade students, we welcome submissions from all high school aged students.

Teachers can register their classes or extracurriculars for the STEM Challenge online by filling out and submitting a completed registration form.

The problems presented in the STEM Challenge are all based on a central theme that will change every year. The theme of the 2024-2025 STEM Challenge is “Climate Mitigation and Adaptation.”

In the STEM Challenge, students will be presented with four different problems, each associated with a different scientific discipline: marine science, astronomy, health and paleontology. Students will select one problem and design a solution that addresses the problem. Once they have designed their solution, students will design and build a model of their solution, then create a presentation that explains how their solution addresses their selected problem.

Projects will be judged in two rounds, with all judging guidelines for both rounds provided to participants in their Student and Teacher Guidebooks. While the first round of judging occurs virtually and mainly assesses individual project components, the second round of presentations will be judged live and in-person. During the STEM Challenge event day, held at Frost Science, judges will assess the potential impact of each solution along with each project’s rigor and students’ oral presentations.

Students will virtually submit their poster presentation and photographs of their model for the first round of judging.

Virtual submissions will be judged based on presentation content, solution design and model design. Select students will be invited to the second round of judging held in-person at Frost Science.

All STEM Challenge projects will be judged together regardless of selected prompt. Judges will award 1st, 2nd and 3rd place to both individual projects and to group projects. Judges will also award honorable mentions.

The judges of the STEM Challenge have not yet been decided. These judges will be experts in marine science, astronomy, health, and paleontology.


Students winning the STEM Challenge will receive scholarships to public Florida state universities. These scholarships may be applied to tuition or used for school related expenses (including on-campus housing, textbooks, meal plans, school supplies, etc.). To receive the scholarship, students or parents/guardians must be Florida residents.

The STEM Challenge is a competition designed for 11th and 12th grade students of public schools in Miami-Dade County.

Students participating in the STEM Challenge may participate the following year given they are still high school students. The central theme and the problems presented by the STEM Challenge change each year, so students must complete a new project every year that they participate in the STEM Challenge.

The scholarships provided to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners will be the same for both individual projects and group projects. This means that all group project winners will have to split the scholarship among group members. While winning group projects must share the scholarship amount, they can distribute the workload among members, share ideas, and assign roles within their group. Individual projects will receive the full scholarship amount but are responsible for the entire project from start to finish.

No more than four students can work on a STEM Challenge project.

If you would like to participate in the STEM Challenge and do not have a participating teacher or are not currently a student in MDCPS, email to learn more about how to enter the STEM Challenge.


Teachers participating in the STEM Challenge must attend the Professional Learning Experience at Frost Science on August 6, 2024, complete the introductory activity “Let’s Get Started” with students, and have students submit STEM Challenge projects.

Teachers participating in the STEM Challenge will receive a $500 stipend to buy classroom materials and aid students in completing the STEM Challenge. Teachers in MDCPS may also receive MDCPS STE(A)M Designation through MDCPS through the following engagements:

  • Professional Learning experience on August 6, 2024 (lunch and parking included).
  • Free field trip for up to 30 students to Frost Science.
  • Virtual Meet the Scientist opportunity.
  • Student participation in STEM Challenge event day.

Along with a $500 stipend, teachers will receive a guidebook that includes STEM Challenge activities and recommended pacing guides, grading rubrics, and content connections.

The STEM Challenge is open to all teachers that would like to participate with students.

All teachers participating in the STEM Challenge can receive the $500 stipend if they complete the STEM Challenge with students. This stipend is distributed to all participating teachers, regardless of the number of teachers that participate at each school or the number of participating classes.

There are four different problems or scientific disciplines for the STEM Challenge: marine science, astronomy, health and paleontology. Teachers may let students select from any of the STEM Challenge problems or require students to address a specific problem for their STEM Challenge project. For example, a Marine Biology class may require all students to address the marine science problem, while an Earth and Space Science class may allow students to select any of the STEM Challenge problems.