Meridian Competitions - The Summaries (2016 - 2017)

Language Arts

#1 – Vocabulary Vines

Vine Videos are six-second videos that run on a loop. Your Challenge is to create a sixty-second video that strings together a series of Vines that illuminate its audience about the meaning of vocabulary words or literary devices.  Additionally, your video must have some kind of theme or connective tissue that ties your words together: creating a story or connection– something that makes this more than just a random string of definitions. In the end you are creating a video that is designed to teach your peers about the beauty and meaning, in a memorable way, of words. Due: December 2nd, 2016; or March 31st, 2017.¹

#2 – Short Story to Theatrical Glory

Short Stories are about using the genre’s select elements to tell a small, concise narrative that has large, universal resonance. In this Challenge, your team will create a short video, on a theatrical stage using minimal props and characters, designed to communicate the essence of your select short story, with a focus on communicating both narrative and theme. Due: December 2nd, 2016; or March 31st, 2017.¹

#3 – Poetry Mash-up

There’s this YouTube guy named Kutiman. He has a visual style of musical mash-up that is invigorating, fun and inspiring. In this Challenge, your team will create your own Kutiman-style mash-up, but instead of featuring music, you’ll be featuring poetry. The end result will be a new mash-up poem that combines the original verse from the poet or format you are studying, with your own poetic verse. Due: December 2nd, 2016; or April 28th, 2017.¹

#4 – Gothic Gristle

In this Challenge, your team is asked to create the basic parameters of a Gothic novel – you will write and present the opening paragraphs of your proposed Gothic story – then write and shoot a scene, as based on three tenets of the genre, set in your fictionalized Gothic universe.  Due: December 2nd, 2016; or April 28th, 2017.¹

STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math)

#1 – Dear Data

We don’t realize it, but we create the potential for vast amounts of data each day.  You can collect data from each action you perform, thought you think, emotion you feel, and more. Each time you hear music – Where are you? What kind of music is it? Are you with people or alone? Each time you reach for your phone – What caused you to check your phone? What time is it? How long did you use your phone for? Even though we often don’t think of this type of “personal data” as data, these all create data points that you can reference and analyze.

Members of your team are tasked with collecting and characterizing personal data concerning five topics of your choice.   Create a video presenting your data visualizations and explaining what this process taught you about a) the role of data in our world; and b) yourselves. Due: December 2nd, 2016; or March 31st, 2017.¹

#2 – Tree Mapping

It is vital to understand the ecosystem services that trees in your community provide. But not everyone gets it. As the town arborist, you’re making a video presentation analyzing the tree ecosystem in your neighborhood (or downtown area) to be delivered to the town council. First, you must create a tree-based map of a given area that notes each building and tree in the area. Then you must analyze the data, addressing, minimally, these criteria:

  • Tree biodiversity
  • Native vs. foreign species
  • Threats to trees, including pests and disease
  • Root system health (space, soil chemistry, etc.)

In the end, how environmentally tree sound is your community? Due: December 2nd, 2016; or March 31st, 2017¹

#3 – Did Juno?

NASA is conducting a mission to explore Jupiter via the space probe Juno, designed to collect data over the course of 20 months (37 orbits) starting in October 2016. Juno collects data regarding atmospheric conditions, magnetic field, gravitational field, and more.  You’re a news reporter with a science background, so your boss at the local news station has just assigned you to create a piece about NASA’s Juno mission. You will choose one aspect of data to focus on, such as water, atmospheric conditions, etc., and explore the Juno mission through this lens in a 3-5 minute investigative news piece that is designed to connect the information gleaned from the ongoing Juno mission…with life here on earth.  Due: December 2nd, 2016; or April 28th, 2017.¹

#4 – What’s Your Problem?

This challenge asks teams of students to exercise their technical and scientific skills, intellect, and training to create a solution to a real world, local problem.  The final product will be a 3-5 minute video demonstrating the problem and the form, function and economic viability of your solution inside a creative narrative. The narrative can be in a format of your own choosing – rap, movie trailer, comic skit, drama – and the creativity of the presentation is an integral part of the challenge. Due: December 2nd, 2016; or April 28th, 2017.¹


#1 – Hip Hop History

By now, most of you have heard of the success of the Broadway musical Hamilton. What is the hullaballoo all about?  On the one hand, the show – about one of our founding fathers, Alexander Hamilton – is an energetic, rapturous story, told in hip hop and R&B, that provides insight into American history in a way that has never been done before.  For our purposes, the success also lies in it’s madly creative use of hip-hop – a form that uses rhyming and word play, combined with rhythm and syncopation – to deliver a thrilling story and thoughtful psychological portrait about a very complicated man: Alexander Hamilton.

In this Competition, you have the chance to do the same: create a hip-hop biographical song about an important person in history. The aim for your portrait is to communicate both the key historical facts about your chosen character, but also to provide insight into the nature of the person: what, based on your research, made your character tick?  Due: December 2nd, 2016; or March 31st, 2017.¹

#2 – Battle Boarding

History has many decisive markers that shape the destinies of communities, nations and cultures. These markers come in many predictable forms such as coup d’états, elections, tyrannical leaders, revolutionary uprisings, plagues, …and BATTLES.

In this Meridian Stories Competition, your job is to tell the story of one battle of your choice. Your primary visual vehicle for telling the tale of your battle is a flat board, on which is mapped the landscape in which your battle takes place, and markers indicating the two sides of the battle.  Due: December 2nd, 2016; or March 31st, 2017.¹

#3 – Immigrant Tales

In this Meridian Stories Competition, you are going to present a segment from a talk show where the guest on this show is the author of a book called: “Immigrant Tales: The Real Story of XXXXX Immigrants in the United States”. Those X’s can be filled in by any number of cultures: Bosnian, German, Polish, Sudanese, Irish, Iraqi, Italian, Chinese, Liberian, Cuban, Russian, Somali, Japanese, …the list goes on and on. The book can cover immigrant populations that came to this country decades ago, or ones that are relatively new to the United States and whose impact is only just now being felt. Due: December 2nd, 2016; or April 28th, 2017.¹

#4 – Sister City Pen Pals

In this challenge, student teams will explore how two people, at the same time in history but on opposite sides of the world, could be so similar…or so very different. Here’s the plan:

  • Choose a town or city – your own or one nearby.
  • Choose one decade…any time before 1970. Research your town or city during that decade, selecting two events that helped to shape the identity of that town. Then, create a character who lives there.
  • NOW, choose a city on the other side of the world: anywhere but in Europe or North America. Using the same decade as above, research two significant events that shaped the future of that city. Then, invent a pen pal from that city.
  • Create a video that documents four letters being exchanged between these two characters – along with pictures, cut-outs and knick-knacks (anything that you could put into an envelope) – that describe your chosen events within each city.

Due: December 2nd, 2016; or April 28th, 2017.¹

Social Growth and Civic Sustainability

#1 – Likeable and Local

You have been invited to star in this week’s episode of your local PBS program, “Likeable and Local: Meals that Save the Planet”. The culinary program showcases members from around the community as they curate a locally grown, full course menu. This series has achieved popular ratings due to the show’s focus on the micro organic ingredients used (traveling no further than 200 miles from outside the community); the cost of the ingredients; and the creativity of the dish. Based on this criteria, your team is going to create a submission in which you design a menu and taste-test one of the dishes!  Due: December 2nd, 2016; or March 31st, 2017.¹

#2 – Mental Health: Then and Now

Mental health has come a long way over the last few years. For starters, we actually talk about it these days! Diagnoses like depression, anxiety, and attention deficit disorder are becoming more mainstream; yet, there is still plenty of stigma surrounding mental health that society has left to conquer.

The local news channel has contracted you to anchor a special segment on this issue, with a focus on one particular aspect of mental health of your choice. The broadcast will highlight in-depth interviews on the atmosphere surrounding mental health for millennials verses the experiences of other generations.  Due: December 2nd, 2016; or March 31st, 2017.¹

#3 – Green Machine

The Department of Energy is …running out of energy! With their years of focus on non-renewable energy sources, such as coal and crude oil, they have backed themselves into a corner and are running out of options. They are hiring talent from all over the world to participate in the Department of Energy’s showcase, ‘The Future of Power – Renewable Energy’, where the winning product design – around a common appliance -will receive enough funding to go to market. You run a start-up and you want to participate! This Challenge begins with you choosing the appliance you are going to make sustainable. Once you have decided on your appliance, you must create a video pitch that highlights 1) why it is important that the appliance you chose becomes more energy efficient; and 2) a detailed description of your green invention.  Due: December 2nd, 2016; or April 28th, 2017.¹

#4 – Peering into Drugs and Science (PSA)

We know that peer relationships can be key influencers in an individual’s decision to use drugs. People are more likely to use drugs and alcohol if someone close to them, like a friend or sibling, is already using or has access to them. Conversely, someone like YOU—a trusted and knowledgeable friend – can influence healthy behaviors within your friend group and steer them away from illicit substances. You are the credible source who can help others understand the important facts about drug abuse and misuse by focusing your research on the facts most impactful to you.

In this challenge, you have been hired to create a Public Service Announcement about the health and societal related impacts of a particular drug of abuse.  Due: December 2nd, 2016; or April 28th, 2017.¹

¹A Note About the Due Dates: This year you will note that there are two due dates for each Competition. This is designed to allow teachers and students to do the Challenges when it is most convenient for them.

 For those classrooms that would like to participate in Challenges during the Fall, you must submit your entries by December 2nd. Your entries will be reviewed by Mentors, scored and badged at that time. For those who would like to participate in the Spring, the entries have due dates in March and April, and they will be reviewed by Mentors, scored and badged at that time. 

First, Second and Third Place will be awarded, as based on all submissions, regardless of entry date, after the Spring due dates.


Singular Curricular Area

$150 per year

Access To

  • One of three curricular areas
    • Language Arts
    • History
    • STEAM


  • participation in up to 5 Competitions (which includes posting Student Video, receiving Mentor Feedback, and earning Digital Badges);
  • access to 8 Activities and 10 Projects; and 
  • access to the entire Media Resource Collection. 

All Curricular Areas

$350 per year

Access To

  • All three curricular areas
    • Language Arts
    • History
    • STEAM


  • participation in up to 15 Competitions;
  • access to all Activities and Projects; and
  • access to the entire Media Resource Collection.