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For Educators

Integrating the Young Naturalist Awards into Your Science Curriculum

Teachers across the country are using the Young Naturalist Awards contest with their students. Some require each student to participate. Others suggest the contest to students through a science club or present it as an extra credit project.

Below are some resources you might use to introduce your students to the YNA competition.

  • 2015 YNA poster (available for download or from the YNA administrator, -- The poster highlights the processes involved in scientific research.

  • Video This video introduces students to the program, illustrates how one student conducted his investigation, and gives students tips for coming up with a research question.


  • Winning Essays These essays are good examples of student investigations in the natural world. Students can learn what steps go into a successful investigation. The essays will give them ideas on how to conduct their own research. CLICK HERE.


Below are some activities you may find helpful when you introduce the program with your students.

  • Sharpen Your Observations Skills  An activity designed to have students look more closely at common items found in nature.

  • What’s Happening in the Natural World Around You?  A brainstorming activity that will help students identify a topic to investigate.

  • What Makes a Good Research Question?  A guide that will help students refine their research questions.


The information in the sections below will help your students as they work through their projects.

  • Select A Project provides an overview of the contest and of how to conduct an investigation.

Select A Project

  • Read The Rules states the rules of the contest.

Read The Rules

  • Research Project Overview A guide to help students carry out an investigation.

How to Plan an Experiment  A guide for students who plan to conduct an experiment.

  • Essay Checklist A checklist to help students make sure they have met all the requirements of the contest.

  • How to Write a Bibliography For information on preparing a bibliography and the proper citing of sources see:


  • How to Avoid Plagiarism A description of what plagiarism is and how students can avoid it.

  • 2015 Judging Rubric lists the 13 categories the essays will be judged on.

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