STEMfest Explain It! Video Competition Rules

Aspiring young filmmakers are invited to participate in the 4th annual STEMfest Video Competition.

Your video…

  • Must explain a concept, topic, idea, phenomena, or theory in any of the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math). Feel free to be creative. No ‘talking head’ videos, please. Don’t just tell us – show us!
  • Should be between 1 – 5 minutes long.
  • Must contain only your own or your group’s original work – including music, sound effects, photography. See Resource Guide for a list of creative tools you can use.
  • Can be any production type including but not limited to live action video, animation, or animated photo essay. (An animated photo essay is a series of still images that have been strung together using video editing software and set to music, narration, or both.)
  • Must not be boring.

Have Fun!

Entry Guidelines

  1. The STEMfest Video Competition is open to current K-12 students ages 5 – 18.
  2. Videos can be submitted by individuals or teams.
  3. All entries, team or individual, must have an adult sponsor. The sponsor must be 21 years or older and can be a parent, teacher, or other responsible adult. The role of the sponsor is as follows:
    • Serve as the primary contact.
    • Collect and submit parent permission slips for all team members and other students who appear in the video.
    • Confirm that the project follows the contest rules and contains only original work created by the team or individual.
    • Create an account for the online entry at Vimeo.  
  4. All entries must be submitted by the adult sponsor to on or before October 14, 2013.
  5. After posting the video to Vimeo, the adult sponsor must complete a STEMfest Video Competition entry form. Click here for the entry form. A link to your video must be included on the entry form.
  6. ALL students who appear in the video MUST have signed parental permission. The adult sponsor is responsible for ensuring that permission slips are completed and mailed or faxed (815-753-0666) to STEM Outreach by October 14, 2013 for the video to be eligible.
  7. Video Format: Your video should be submitted as an MP4 or other supported formats: avi, mov, mpeg, mpg, or wmv. The recommended screen resolution is 640x480.
  8. Please follow digital safety guidelines. The videos will be viewable online. Please do not include the last names of any students involved in the production of the video in the title or credits. Complete names are required on the entry form only.


Entries will be divided into divisions by age/grade level.

  • K-2
  • 3-5
  • 6-8
  • 9-12

Teachers – you can enter too for a chance to win a special Educator’s Award!

Judging will be based on the following criteria.

  • Accuracy – Was your explanation correct?
  • Creativity/Originality
  • Technical Quality (i.e. focused images, clear sound, interesting graphics)
  • Overall Effectiveness


A 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winner will be selected in each division.  Additional honors may be awarded at the judges’ discretion. Winners will be announced and publicly screened on October 19th at STEMfest.

Prizes for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners to be determined.

Resources and Tools

You don’t have the right software to create your video? Don’t worry! Here is a list of just a few easy and free tools you can use to create your video. There are lots more available online.

Video/Animated Slideshow Editing


  • Aviary – Online music creator
  • Audacity – Record and mix your own music or voice
  • Hobnox – Create your own high energy tracks
  • JamStudio – Create your own music online


  • SAM Animation – Watch the intro video on this one. There are some great ideas!!
  • Scratch – Create and program your own animation

Mailing Address for Video Submissions

STEMfest Video Competition
C/O STEM Outreach
Lowden Hall 307
Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, IL 60115

Additional Questions?

Contact Kristin Brynteson at or (815) 753-0928.