Students and Teachers

What is a flame? What is time, color, sleep, or sound? These questions were asked by students around 11 years old and answered by real scientists in past years of The Flame Challenge. The responses were then judged by some of those same students based on how well they understood and enjoyed the entries. 

Teachers, you can engage your class as judges in a real-life science contest. By registering your class, you'll be kept up to date on news about The Flame Challenge and also be considered as a panel of judges for the 2017 contest. Your class may also be considered to participate in the Worldwide Assembly, a live web conference in which students discuss the finalist entries with Alan Alda.

Teachers: Register Your Class

Registration is now closed for the 2017 Flame Challenge. Come back in the Fall to register your class to vote on next year's competition!

Teacher Guide to The Flame Challenge 2017

Please see below for a link to download our Teacher Guide, which includes helpful information for engaging your class, school and community. If you have any questions that are not covered in the guide, please email We look forward to partnering with you and your students!

Key Dates

Don’t miss out on important deadlines! We know teachers have a lot to juggle and we hope this contest will enhance your spring semester. Please review the timeline and make sure it fits into your curricular schedule. 

  • September 30, 2016: Last Day to Submit Questions
  • October 3, 2016: Voting Begins to Select The Flame Challenge Question
  • October 10, 2016: Voting to Select The Flame Challenge Question Ends
  • October 24, 2016: Announcement of The Flame Challenge Question
  • November 1, 2016: Release of Teachers' Survival Kit for The Flame Challenge 2017
  • December 9, 2016: Early Registration Deadline for Schools
  • December 13, 2016: Informational Webinar for Participating Teachers
  • February 28 - April 7, 2017: Classes Vote on Contest Entries
  • March 15, 2017: Last Day for Classrooms/Schools to Register as Judges
  • March 31, 2017: Last Day for Schools to Submit Scores for Contest Entries
  • April , 2017: Voting Begins for Finalist Contest Entries
  • April 24, 2017: Worldwide Assembly with Alan Alda (via web conference)
  • May 3, 2017: Last Day to Vote on Finalist Contest Entries
  • May 8-24, 2017: Students Submit Questions for consideration for The Flame Challenge 2018
  • June 4, 2017: Announcement of Contest Winners at World Science Festival in New York City

The Worldwide Assembly

Watch Alan Alda and students discussing the 2015 finalist entries for "What is sound?" during the Worldwide Assembly on April 26, 2016.

Past Challenges

Please browse our Past Challenges section to get your class excited to participate. You may also enjoy watching the videos below to get some ideas about how students responded to the entries and how to weave The Flame Challenge into your science lesson plans.