The 2020 Conrad Challenge: What Happens When The Challenge Gets Challenging?

2020 Conrad Challenge

In this episode of the TeacherCast Podcast, we welcome Kristie Letter, educator and two-time mentor of two Conrad Challenge student teams onto the program.

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In This Episode …

  • What is the Conrad Challenge?
  • How do you ask your students to be innovative enough to change the world?
  • How to choose a topic for the Challenge with your students
  • How to create a student-led group to complete the challenge
  • How to plan and budget for your groups Challenge
  • Planning a calendar of events throughout an entire year
  • How do face adversity and challenges throughout the year
  • How to get involved with the Conrad Challenge

What Is The Conrad Challenge?

Registration opens soon for the 2020-21 Conrad Challenge. Unlike any STEM competition out there, this annual event unleashes the potential of students to leave their mark on the world, using their innovation and entrepreneurial skills to address some of the most pressing global challenges. In its first 15 years, the Challenge has had student participants from more than 70 different countries. To make sure you’re notified when registration opens, sign up here.

Teams of 2-5 students between the ages of 13-18, along with a coach (who may be a teacher, administrator, business leader, or other adult), participate in the Challenge to innovate new products and services that address global issues in one of six categories:

  • Aerospace & Aviation

  • Cyber-Technology & Security

  • Energy & Environment

  • Health & Nutrition

  • Smoke-Free World

  • Transforming Education with Technology

Winning teams receive awards, investment opportunities, patent support, business services and scholarships to support the growth of their concepts into real businesses that can make real difference. At the end of the competition, teams maintain ownership of their Intellectual Property.More than 600 teams, a record number, competed in the 2019-20 Conrad Challenge, including 37 finalist teams from eight different countries. Award winners were announced in May at the Challenge’s first-ever Virtual Innovation Summit. Learn more about the award-winning teams, students and educators here.

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About our Guest: Kristie Letter

Kristie Betts Letter teaches Innovation and Design Thinking in Colorado. She’s spearheaded an innovation initiative which started as one strange elective class and evolved into a schoolwide collaboration with a required ninth grade class. Students in this initiative have won national social entrepreneurship awards including top awards in the Conrad Challenge, the World Series of Innovation, the Lexus Eco-Challenge, and the Adcap Challenge. Kristie’s publications include a poetry collection Under-Worldly (Editorial L’Aleph, 2015) and a book of short stories Fire in the Hole (Engine Books, 2019). In non-fiction, she’s published a teaching handbook for the Colorado Department of Education, and a true tale in Chicken Soup for the Teacher’s Soul. She's earned four NEH fellowships, and the national Conrad Innovative Teacher of the Year award.

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