Language Arts

  • Story Engineering
  • Mark Twain: What’s the Story of this Story?
  • Book Report Ride
  • Comic Poetry Sketch
  • Your Young Adult Fiction


  • Minecrafting Carmen Sandiego
  • Democracy Awaken!
  • Designing Patriotism
  • Where Were You When?
  • Historical Escape Room


  • The Soil is Alive!
  • Body Detective
  • A Burning Documentary
  • Tech You
  • Green Monsters

Language Arts

Story Engineering

Story Structure – Creative Writing – Video Production and Narrative Construction – 21st Century Skills – 3D Printing, Engineering and Design

This is a Competition about story structure, creativity, engineering and three-dimensional printing design. In this Meridian Stories Competition, your team must develop, script and produce an original short story that is structured around a piece of engineering that your team needs to design and, if available, print out on a 3D printer. If a 3D printer is not available, then the team can construct the design in whatever means they have at their disposal.

The engineered prop is made up of three different pieces, all of which need to fit together in some form to create something that ‘functions’. Let the story creation begin! (Due: 3.23.18)

Mark Twain: What’s the Story of this Story?

Mark Twain – Short Story – Language – Post Civil War History – African American History – Video Production and Narrative Construction – 21st Century Skills

Mark Twain is a seminal American writer.  Most famously the author of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, he is credited with, among other things, being the first author to respectfully bring the African-American dialect into mainstream literature. How did he find this voice? One theory is that it all began with a short story that he wrote ten years before the publication of Huckleberry Finn. That story is called “A True Story, Repeated Word for Word as I Heard It” and that is the subject of this Meridian Stories Competition. We want you to read this short, but extraordinary tale and in a talking storyboard format, tell us of your experience with this historical, linguistic and tragic piece of narrative. (Due: 3.23.18)

Book Report Ride

Literature Analysis – Minecraft Coding/Video Production/Animation/Storyboarding – Narrative Construction – 21st Century Skills

Book Reports can be kind of a drag. So, let’s make it into a ride. Using Minecraft or any other form of visual presentation – stop-motion, animation, live action video or graphic stills – take us on a roller coaster-like journey through three seminal scenes in your book. You pick the scenes, write the narration for this journey (only one voice), and bring us to a place where we won’t be able to resist reading the book ourselves. (Due: 3.23.18)

Comic Poetry Sketch

Poetic Structure Analysis – Comedy Creation – Video Production and Narrative Construction – 21st Century Skills

April 2018 is both National Humor Month and National Poetry Month. Soooo, this Meridian Stories Challenge attempts to honor both!  Create a comic sketch that successfully communicates the basic rules that govern three different kinds of poetry. (Due: 4.13.18)

Your Young Adult Fiction

Literary Genre Exploration: Young Adult Fiction – Creative Writing – Video Production and Narrative Construction – 21st Century Skills

Young Adult (YA) fiction is a relatively new genre of writing that continues to evolve in both narrative structure and popularity. But there are some clear markers that have to do with subject matter, protagonist’s story arc, perspective and emotional tone. In this Challenge, students are challenged to create and shoot two scenes from a YA story of their own making. (Due: 4.13.18)


Minecrafting Carmen Sandiego

Geography – Global Country Exploration – Minecraft Coding – Game Design – 21st Century Skills

Gumshoes – your mission today is to build a world for the greatest thief to ever live: Carmen Sandiego. Using the open sandbox video game of Minecraft you will create your own version of the beloved 90’s television show. The set will be a multi-room puzzle game that takes your contestants around a single country (of you or your teacher’s choice) with questions that revolve around that country’s language, geography, history and current events. (Due: 3.23.18)

Democracy Awaken!

Current Events and US Politics – Primary Source Research – Video Production and Narrative Construction – Interviews – Community Engagement – 21st Century Skills

The United States is divided between Republicans and Democrats in ways that threaten our very democracy. This begins with the politicians and extends to their constituents – the current and future voters. There is a lot of evidence to suggest that each side is unwilling to listen to the other; is unwilling to seek compromise between their two divergent positions. This Challenge asks you to address that head on through the creation of a dialogue between local community members who happen to be opposed politically. This is about prompting the parties to exchange, listen and seek a position that bridges their beliefs. This is about taking a small step to re-awaken our Democracy through modeling civil discourse.  (Due: 3.23.18)

Designing Patriotism

Depression Era Research – Current Events ResearchPrimary Source Research – Artistic Design – Video Production and Documentary Narrative Construction – Interviews – Community Engagement – 21st Century Skills

After the Great Depression, the American Government enacted a multitude of programs through the New Deal to provide relief, recovery, and reform to the struggling country. One of these programs  – the Treasury Relief Art Project (TRAP) – was designed to “fund patriotic art projects in an effort to rally dispirited American citizens.”

In this Meridian Stories Competition, your challenge is to research the history of TRAP as it relates to this concept of ‘patriotism’; then research what this word means today to your team and the community around you. Finally, design (not build) a contemporary TRAP installation – a mural – for installation in your school that reflects your findings. (Due: 3.23.18)

Where Were You When?

Recent History (after 1940’s) – Primary Source Research – Audio Production and Narrative Construction – Interviews – Community Engagement – 21st Century Skills

We have all lived through recent momentous events in our nation’s history. From the bombing at the Boston Marathon to the election of the first African-American US President; the fall of the Berlin Wall to the assassination of John Lennon. Your challenge is to produce a podcast that tells the story of one critical historical moment through mostly primary sources – people you know who were alive when the event happened. The end result will be a piece that brings that day to life more than any textbook can. (Due: 4.13.18)

Historical Escape Room

Historical Research of an Event or Time PeriodVideo Production and Narrative Construction – Game Design – 21st Century Skills – 3D Printing, Engineering and Design

Escape rooms are physical problem solving spaces. In this Challenge, you and your team are going to design an escape room that has a historical theme to it. OK, here’s a little more detail. There’s a museum in town – say it’s a museum about Prohibition, the Underground Railroad, the Battle of Fort Sumter or even ceramics from the Middle Ages. The proprietors want to build an Escape Room full of puzzles that test the visitor’s knowledge of that historical theme. And you have been commissioned to design it. Go!

If appcable, inclusion of a 3D printed, historically accurate prop is recommended. (Due: 4.13.18)


The Soil is Alive!

Earth Systems – Matter and Energy in Ecosystems – Climate Change – Scientific Experimentation – 3D Printing, Engineering and Design  – Video Production and Narrative Construction – 21st Century Skills

The soil is alive! But what exactly does that mean? How is the soil ‘alive’? How do we measure the organic matter in the soil around where we live to determine how healthy it is? How might we make our soil ‘healthier’? And why would increasing the amount of organic matter offset carbon emissions? What does one have to do with the other? And finally, what is ‘carbon sequestration’?

These are the mysteries that lie at the heart of this Competition. And one tool that can help you to solve this mystery is a 3D printed microscope that attaches to your phone.

Research the statement that the soil is ‘alive’ and how it can help stem the tide of climate change. This is no exaggeration. And then tell us the story of your soil, in your school, community or backyard. Actually, sell us on your story in the form of a two minute Public Service Announcement. (This Competition has been developed in collaboration with Wolfe’s Neck Farm in Freeport, ME) (Due: 3.23.18)

Body Detective

Human Biology – Disease, Symptoms and Body Defenses – Video Production and Narrative Construction – 21st Century Skills

When dastardly disease and sinister sickness strikes the human body, there are three key players in the battle:

  1. The bad guys – the disease;
  2. The victims – the body and its parts; and
  3. The heros – the body’s internal defense systems and humanity’s externally produced medicines.

These three forces mix together to create a story more dramatic and mysterious than the best detective noir ever created! This is the story that you are going to tell. (Due: 3.23.18)

A Burning Documentary

System of Linear Equations – Mathematical Problem Solving – Body Systems – Video Production and Documentary Narrative Construction – 21st Century Skills

Here’s the problem: your good buddy has eaten 1000 calories too many in the past half hour. That same good buddy has four hours, under your direction, to burn those calories. Mathematically come up with the specifications for five activities that will burn these 1000 calories in that time period. And then do it! And document it. And report it…in under 120 seconds. (Due: 3.23.18)

Tech You

Data Collection, Representation and Analysis – Self-Exploration – Technology and Society – Video Production and Narrative Construction – 21st Century Skills

All your digital and online interactions are little pieces of you – gigabytes and megabytes – sent out into the world that create a larger cyber representation of who you are, what you like, and how you live. As soon as you log on, sign in, or create anything on the web, the material is contributing to an ever-evolving digital identity. Each account is like an alter ego in which you, through a screen, interact with others and send a piece of yourself out far beyond your physical presence.

In this challenge, you and your team will track where you go digitally and for how long, over a five-day time period; articulate the data mathematically and graphically; and then create a visual and creative technological self-portrait of yourself to present it to your teammates. You think online personality quizzes deliver truth? No. But mathematics does.  (Due: 4.13.18)

Green Monsters

Earth and Human Impact – Renewable and Non-Renewable Energy – Climate Change – Video Production and Narrative Construction – 21st Century Skills

In this Meridian Stories Challenge, your team is charged with creating a video story that is designed to educate elementary school kids about climate change by looking at the renewable and non-renewable energy use and waste around them. And how will you do that? By identifying some of the bad energy goblins right there in town and transforming them into bad guys! And, conversely, identifying some of the combatants of climate change…and making them good guys!  It’s the oldest story format in the world, but it can leave a lasting impression on younger kids. And this is an impression we need to leave. (Due: 4.13.18)