Competitions, Challenges & Experiences Your Students Will Love | Design Thinking | STEM

At Makers Empire, we want to help children become creators, innovators and problem solvers so they can adapt and thrive in a dynamic world. We do this by equipping educators with the tools, resources and support they need to embrace creativity and making in education for improved student performance, engagement and learning.

We’ve created this page for elementary, primary and middle school educators who love teaching their students Design Thinking, STEM and 21st-century learning skills. Below you’ll find all sorts of classroom activities, challenges and competitions you can do with your students, as well as excursions and school holiday programs.

If you’re using Makers Empire in a competition or challenge, please let us know as we can assist with worksheets and posters as well as possible competition prizes.

This page will be continually updated with new entries. We want to make this a useful resource for teachers using Makers Empire around the world so please do send suggestions to christina[at]


Classroom Learning

Makers Empire School Subscription

Teach your students how to solve real-world problems with Design Thinking. Make STEM learning fun. Engage ALL students, even those reluctant learners. Makers Empire’s School Subscription equips educators with the tools, resources and support they need to embrace creativity and making in education for improved student performance, engagement and learning. More information. Worldwide.


In2science places STEM university students into Australian high schools as peer mentors. Over 10 weekly visits per semester mentors build meaningful relationships with secondary students and their teachers in science and mathematics classes. Mentors help to engage students in these disciplines and inspire them to pursue STEM studies at school and beyond. The program partners with schools via two delivery modes: metropolitan in-class mentoring and regional online eMentoring. More information. Australia only.

Competitions for Individual Students

Makers Empire Monthly Design Thinking Competition

Encourage your students to express their creativity and explore the Design Thinking process with Makers Empire’s monthly in-app Design Thinking competitions. Students from all around the world compete to make it into the Hall Of Fame. More information. Worldwide.

Hope 3D Design Competition

Do you want to change the world? Are you on a mission to find solutions to the worlds leading problems?! Whether you’re passionate about education, medicine, the environment or poverty Hope3Dwants to help you harness the power of 3D printing to make the world a better place. Using the blueprints of a sustainable future for all, provided by the UN Sustainable Development Goals of 2030, we’re on a mission to find scalable 3D printable solutions to problems related to the environment, education and inequalities around the world. For this design challenge, you must produce a concept, model, or prototype that incorporates 3D printing into a solution that will help solve one of the 17 UN Sustainable Development goals. Competition closes 14 April, 2019. More information. Worldwide.


Kids have incredible imaginations and a lot of ideas. littleBIGidea seeks to unearth Australia’s greatest young inventors and provides students with a platform to submit any ideas that help people in some way, or make life easier. Each year, the competition attracts around 1,000 original, creative, practical and imaginative entries from young inventors nation-wide. Winning students are sent to NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre, Epcot Theme Park at Disneyworld and Ripley’s Believe It or Not in the USA. More information. Australia only.

Challenges for Teams of Students

The 2019 Game Changer Challenge

The Game Changer Challenge is a three-day design thinking sprint which takes place during Education Week and involves 16 teams from schools across NSW working with department educators and industry partners to solve a complex 21st-century real-world problem. The 2019 Game Changer Challenge is – How might we humanise technology? More information. Australia only.

Australian Aeronautical Velocity Challenge

The Australian Aeronautical Velocity Challenge is a STEM initiative focused on addressing Australia’s shortage of scientists and engineers. Over 700 students were involved in regional final events in 2017 and nearly 200 progressed to the state finals to share in the $5000 student prize pool. There are three strands to the competition – Bottle Rockets, Propeller Powered Planes and Drones. Design teams partake in challenges to design, produce and battle their creations whilst aiming to achieve maximum velocity and distance travelled. Students compete in teams in either the primary, junior (Years 7-9) or senior (Years 10-12) division. More information. Australia only.

Excursions and School Holiday Experiences

Spark Engineering Camp

Spark Engineering Camp is a not for profit, Youth Without Borders initiative that provides an opportunity for 100 grade 10-12 Australian high school students to experience university life and see what engineering has to offer. Over the 5-7 day camp, students stay on university grounds at a residential college, with activities planned throughout the city. More information. Australia only.

Power of Engineering

Power of Engineering is helping to shape a diverse engineering workforce through practical and creative experiences. They do this by running one-day events for Year 9 and 10 Australian high school students (prior to subject selection) demonstrating that they have the power to change the world through engineering, in collaboration with universities and industry. More information. Australia only.

Girls Who Code

Girls Who Code is on a mission to close the gender gap in technology and to change the image of what a programmer looks likes and does. They’re building the largest pipeline of future female engineers in the United States. More information. USA only.

Code Camp

Since 2013, more than 50,000 kids have had the most fun and excitement during their school holidays at Code Camp. Kids design, code, problem solve and become storytellers, as they move from consumers to creators with technology, and build their very own apps and games in 2-4 days! More information. Australia only.

Code Club Australia

Code Club is a national network of volunteer-led coding clubs with a mission to #getkidscoding! They are a charity with the aim of giving every child the skill, confidence and opportunity to shape their world. All Code Clubs are free to join, and are supported by volunteers, parents, educators and our partners. More information. Australia only.

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