2024 Convening: Access in Action! Register Today

Close this search box.
National STEM Challenge Photo

2024 National STEM Festival

Presented by: EXPLR, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Education and with support from TIES and the STEM Learning Ecosystems Community of Practice (SLECoP). 


View the Resources!

Ecosystems Toolkit

Volunteer One Sheet

Fact Sheet

Explr Logo

Event Name:
2024 National STEM Festival

Student Challenge Dates:
September 12 - November 12, 2023

Festival Event Dates:
April 11-13, 2024

Event Location:
Washington, D.C.

Event Overview:

The 2024 National STEM Festival celebrates a nationwide challenge to foster creativity, critical thinking, and a passion for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) among middle and high school students. Presented by EXPLR in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Education and with support from TIES and the STEM Learning Ecosystems Community of Practice, this event is a key initiative under the Biden-Harris Administration to promote STEM education and careers, advancing equity and excellence for all students.

2024 Festival Themes:

Students participating in the Challenge will design projects within six categories, utilizing the engineering design process or the scientific method to address local or global challenges. These categories include:

1. Environmental Stewardship

Projects promoting responsible use of natural resources, conserving water and energy, addressing climate change, and exploring scalable solutions to environmental issues.

2. Future Foods Systems:

Research equitable and sustainable practices in food production, distribution, and consumption, considering factors like climate change, population growth, resource scarcity, and food security.

3. Health & Medicine:

Innovating medical devices, disease diagnosis and treatment methods, and healthcare solutions, focusing on equitable access to healthcare.

4. Power the Planet:

Designing alternative and sustainable energy sources, energy storage technologies, energy efficiency, and grid optimization.

5. Space Innovation:

Tackling challenges in aviation and aerospace, from life on Mars habitats to carbon emissions reduction and fuel efficiency optimization.

6. Tech for Good:

Utilizing AI, data visualization, robotics, and other technologies to develop programs or devices addressing real-world challenges, including closing the digital divide and addressing racial biases in technology.

Supporter Benefits:

  • Exclusive networking and branding opportunities.

  • In-person and digital event experiences.

  • Interaction with STEM innovators and thought leaders.

  • Showcase commitment to STEM education and innovation.

  • Exposure to a diverse audience of professionals, officials, educators, and students.

  • Potential Introduction to STEM education and workforce leaders in your region through the national and local STEM Learning Ecosystems Community of Practice.


  • Presented by EXPLR, with support from TIES, the STEM Learning Ecosystems Community of Practice, and others, the 2024 National STEM Challenge is a nationwide challenge designed to cultivate creativity, critical thinking, and a love for STEM among middle and high school students.
  • The call for entries for the National STEM Challenge opens October 4, 2023.
  • Select top-scoring STEM Champions from all 50 states, including the District of Columbia, U.S. territories, Department of Defense schools, Bureau of Indian Education schools, and non-public schools, will be invited to present their projects at the National STEM Festival in Washington, D.C., in April 2024.

Outreach and Engagement:

  • TIES will collaborate with schools, educational institutions, community organizations, businesses, and STEM-focused institutions.
  • We are calling for students in grades 6-12 nationwide to showcase their scientific projects, innovations, inventions, and research in solving real-world problems under six themes.
  • Through TIES and our STEM Learning Ecosystems Community of Practice, we are dedicated to engaging local, state, and national markets to reach under-represented students in STEM.

Estimated Reach:

30 million students, teachers, and parents/caregivers (includes general public)

More than 125 supporting education organizations and platforms

Estimated Number of Festival Attendees::

1,000 attendees, including student STEM Champions, parents, corporate leaders, industry experts, official representatives, distinguished guests, STEM experts, educators, and journalists/media outlets.

About EXPLR:

EXPLR’s mission is to help kids thrive in school and life by providing real-world, rigorous, and relevant educational resources. EXPLR is a streaming video and curriculum service for grade 5-12 students, teachers, and families that helps bridge critical gaps in K-12 education. It was co-founded by leading education and entertainment figures Jenny Buccos (founder of ProjectExplorer), Kari Byron (former Discovery Channel Mythbuster), and Andrew Zimmern (TV personality, producer, and U.N. World Food Programme Goodwill Ambassador). Since launching in 2021, EXPLR has been used in over 500 schools across 23 US states.

About TIES:

The Teaching Institute for Excellence in STEM (TIES) is dedicated to making STEM accessible to everyone, especially underserved and underrepresented learners. We do this by connecting stakeholders — educators, funders, community organizations, businesses, and government agencies — who, through collaborative partnerships, create meaningful and gainful STEM learning experiences. Our experienced team of consultants provides strategic planning support and guides design, training, and implementation across all of our services.