Are you looking to put some STEAM into your science curriculum? If so, here is your chance! The Department of Physics and Astronomy at James Madison University is excited to present you and your students with the opportunity to explore and demonstrate their understanding of physics concepts through video. This project is intended to reached across grade levels and disciplines and explore the intersection of the arts with physics. We want science teachers and students to work with teachers and students from the arts and technology to create a video to compete for cash prizes for you and your school! Here's how it works: your team creates an original video which demonstrates and explains something related to physics. You submit it to us for judging (details below) and the top 5 teams will receive an award from JMU as well as receive a monetary prize.



This contest is open to students in grades K-12 in both public and private schools. Students are free to work individually or in teams of up to 5 people. If more than five people contribute to a project, only 5 will be eligible to receive an award and prize money. In order for an entry to be accepted, all standard lab safety practice must be employed. Furthermore, videos must be free of objectionable content.



To submit an entry in this contest, a video less than 3 minutes in length must be shared with Thomas O’Neill by Google Drive. The instructions on how to share the video are downloadable in PDF format here. If you have trouble sharing your video, email Thomas ( for assistance. The first 2 seconds of the video must be a title screen which includes:

The deadline for submissions is 9:00 a.m. EST April 3, 2015. All standard video formats will be accepted. Upon receipt, your video will be reviewed to ensure it meets guidelines and an "official entry" and if it does it will be posted (by JMU Physics and Astronomy) to YouTube and JMUtube . You will receive email notification of your videos acceptance and the links to your entry.



Videos will be judged by a panel composed of JMU physics professors and physics students. Videos will be scored in 4 categories:



Prizes will be awarded to the top 5 videos as follows:


Winning team members (and parents) will be invited to campus for an awards banquet where all of the winning videos will be screened.  While here there will be an opportunity to learn about the physics research going on at JMU.


FAQ For Students

Are you serious about the laboratory safety part? Very.  Any video which violates lab safety rules, common sense, or appears to have unethical use of live subjects will not be accepted for the competition.


What is an appropriate topic for my video? Anything in which you can find interesting physics.  It can be a further explanation of something you've learned in class, or it could be something beyond the scope of your class. Any branch of physics is fair game, as long as you can explain what is happening to the target audience.


Who owns the rights to my video?  By  submitting a video in this contest, you grant JMU physics and astronomy all rights to the video, including use in marketing and advertising materials.  You are still free to use the material for your own purposes. 


Do you have any helpful tips? Yes! I'm glad you asked. Take advantage of resources within your school and outside your school. This is a great opportunity for your students to engage in an interdisciplinary project. Team up with the art and technology teachers at your school or experts outside of your school. In addition there are many free software programs that can be used to help demonstrate physics concepts in entertaining and educational ways. Two of our favorite free physics software are:

Not all of the effort has to be on the tape! Don't be afraid to spend some time setting up, editing, and adding effects to the video. This is where having a team made of members with a variety of skills in physics, photography/video, and technology will be important.

Finally, we have 4 criteria for judging, but at the end of the day, we're physicists. Incorrect physics is a big strike against you. Get the physics right! And try to make it educational. Show it to a younger sibling or friend. Did they learn something by watching it? If so, you're probably on the right track.


FAQ For Teachers

What are the benefits to my students?  This contest can be used to promote 21st century skills by creating cross discipline teams of physics student and tech/media student to create and enter a video project. Physics student would be in charge of science content and materials and media student in charge of editing and appearance.

How can I fit this into my curriculum?  The short answer is any way that makes sense for you. We have a handful of suggestions depending on your needs:


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