5 STEAM challenges and competitions for kids.

Motivation is often a key element that’s missing from our kids’ projects. Without a specific reason to get something done, we’re basically begging for them to ask the somehow-timeless-question:

“What’s the point of this?”

Whether you’re a teacher, a parent or pretty much anyone who’s ever had a conversation with a kid before, you’ve undoubtedly had to answer that question at some point, tapping into creative reasoning you probably didn’t even know you had. I think I once told a kid who was questioning why I was making him read a book that it was because he would cherish the stories from his childhood – I don’t think he bought it.

Get them excited

A better way of motivating your kids could most definitely be with interesting competitions and contests that give out all kinds of awards. There are so many organizations that issue incredible challenges, with real deadlines, rules and most excitingly – prizes. It’s an awesome way to encourage kids to get excited about what they can accomplish, if they just get to work.

Here are few great competitions you can still enter now, for 2016.

  1. The Science Without Borders Challenge is an international art competition that engages students to promote the needs to preserve, protect and restore the world’s oceans and aquatic resources. It’s open to all kids ages 11-19 years old, and the deadline to apply is April 25th, 2016.
  2. The Space App Challenge is NASA’s annual collaborative hackathon that takes place over 48hrs in April. Anyone can take part – there are 25 different challenges revolving around technology, robotics, outer space and much more. The deadline to apply to host an event in your city is February 24th, 2016 but registration to be an individual contributor will open soon.
  3. Collaboration Nation is a nationwide (U.S) competition that schools and school districts can enter to win up to $50,000 to support their EdTech programs. Applicants must enter a video to demonstrate a cross-departmental collaborative project by April 30th, 2016.
  4. ProjectCSGirls is aimed at encouraging girls to actively use computer science and technology to develop solutions to social problems. The deadline to register is February 15th,2016, so hurry for this one – but projects are only due in April.
  5. The Tech Challenge is a team-based design engineering challenge for kids in grades 4-12, with the aim of inspiring the next generation of Silicon Valley innovators. The competition takes places on April 23 and 24, 2016.

Do you have any others to add to the list? Let us know!


Hello MakerUniverse: An Introduction.

Hi to all of our friends, readers, makers, believers (and mom!). This is a quick hello from me, Sarah, your new guide. Quick because we have so much to cover, so many things to explore together. Quick, but not brief, because our journey will be rich and informative.

I know that this MakerUniverse is an exciting place full of potential, but one you can get lost in without a little guidance. What’s an Arduino? What’s all this talk about STEM? How did my kid manage to build a robot that does his homework? There’s so much to know, so many places to learn and explore.

Frankly, it’s a little overwhelming.

Getting ready to explore the universe with the MakerBloks!

That’s where we here at MakerBloks come in. Think of us as the ones at the front of the line with the flashlight, as we head out into unchartered territory. We are teachers and engineers and artists and designers – and we are passionate about developing MakerJuniors all over the world.

MakerJuniors, unite!

MakerJuniors exist because we tell our kids that they can learn new concepts at their own pace, and apply them in ways we never would have thought of. MakerJuniors flourish when we take a step back and watch as they connect with the modern world around them, and then marvel at what they are able to add to it.

I am so ready to start this new adventure with you. We are going to meet some interesting people doing amazing things. We are going to find the most relevant stories and the most intelligent story-makers. We are going to inform ourselves about the current events that matter to us, so that we are equipped to provide the best space for all the MakerJuniors in our lives.

Ready? Let’s go.

MakerBloks is Back! Wrap up Part 1: Collision and TechCrunch

We are back in Montreal! A lot happened since our last update: one team attended Collision in Las Vegas and another team went to TechCrunch Disrupt in New York, we then finally launched our Kickstarter campaign and had an awesome kiosk at the Maker Faire in San Francisco, right next to NASA and LittleBits! Here is part 1: Collision and TechCrunch. Stay tuned for part 2: the Kickstarter Launch!

Team A: #MakerBloksNY at TechCrunch Disrupt

TechCrunch Disrupt was a packed event! We were really happy to attend since we won first place at the first Pitch-off Meetup of TechCrunch in Montreal! The event was held May 4th to May 6th in New York and united great startups like Liquidity and BioBots, amazing speakers were also present, ranging from Limor Fried and Jason Monte to Marissa Mayer and Kayvon Beykpour. We also met the other company who won at the TechCrunch pitch-off: Office Vibe.

We finished the last day at TechCrunch with our kiosk in the hardware alley where we got to meet a lot of interesting people! John Biggs also came by for a quick interview video 🙂

Team B: #MakerBloksVegas at Collision

While Team #MakerBloksNY was being busy at TechCrunch Disrupt, another team went to Collision in Las Vegas for the pitch competition! Held May 5th and May 6th, Collision also united great startups, conferences and great speakers. Day 1 was our pitch, delivered by our Business Manager Malika. She was awesome! We also got to attend great talks like the one made by Lars Silberbauer, Social Media Director of LEGO talking about their last digital campaign: #kronkiwongi.

Day 2 was our booth exposition, where we met extraordinary people, media, vc’s and other startups. We even met Morgan Spurlock and presented him MakerBloks – he liked it! Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures…so, no proof… you’ll have to trust me.

Both teams then left and reunited in San Francisco for the preparation of our Kickstarter launch and for the awesome Maker Faire!

Stay tuned for part 2: Kickstarter Launch!


François Poirier MakerBloks

Winners are the first TechChrunch Meet-up Competition in Montreal!

April 1st marked the first TechCrunch Meet-up competition in Montreal. Eight different startups have been selected to pitch in front of over 900 people and a jury comprised of investors and journalists from TechCrunch. The top three winners had the chance to participate at the TechCrunch Disrupt event in New York, May 4-6. We are honoured to announce that MakerBloks won first place in the pitch competition!

The two other winning startups were OfficeVibe and GradeSlam. Wearing zombie makeup, OfficeVibe gave a great pitch! The startup aims to allow companies to measure and track employe’s engagement. Already present in 44 countries, they already raised more than $1 millions in funding, and even have Ebay in customer trials. The third winner was GradeSlam. The startup connects certified tutors to students and parents and help them connect for any school subject.

We want to thank you for your support, and for believing in our mission to build the future! ! Without you, we wouldn’t have gone this far.

Come see us at TechCrunch Disrupt or follow us on Twitter to receive live updates!


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MakerBloks won the Live Pitch and Showcase Award at the National Crowdfunding Summit!

We are honored to announce that MakerBloks won the Live Pitch and Showcase Award at the National Crowdfunding Summit!
Formed in 2012, the National Crowdfunding Association organized the first major crowdfunding summit in Canada and took place at the MaRS Discovery District in Toronto. The event was centered around different panel discussions, notorious keynotes speakers, workshops and mentor sessions. The jury included prominent actors from accelerators and venture capitalist firms such as Ben Zlotnik founder of INcubes and Frank Erschen, Chief Strategist at Powernoodle. The program included a total of 12 companies competing for the grand prize. Our award includes a session with high-profile mentors, public relations packages, and legal services.

This award will help us tremendously in our vision to make a better future. We would like to thank everyone supporting us in this amazing adventure that is MakerBloks and the NCFA for this great opportunity! maker


The MakerBloks team

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MakerBloks won Two Awards at Entrepreneurs en Action!

MakerBloks have been awarded with the most Innovative and Technology company and the Gascon & Associates awards at Entrepreneurs en Action!

CDEC aids in the development of small organisations and it supports innovative, sustainable and economic activities. They also help the creation of companies, business acquisitions and the performance of existing businesses with services and funding. Since 2004, CDEC Rosemont-Petite-Patrie have been rewarding more than 500 000$ in grants to more than 60 entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs en Action is now at its 11th edition.

We have been selected among 41 applications and 12 finalists. We would like to thank CDEC and Gascon and Associates, the city of Montreal and the government of Quebec for their support. The grant will help us further our business development and the advancement of our second demo kit.


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MakerBloks Is Participating In StartUp Next!

We are proud and honoured that MakerBloks have been selected for StartUp NEXT Montreal!

StartUp Next Montreal is powered by Google for Entrepreneurs and is the best startup pre-accelerator program, providing mentoring, content and contacts with top investors and other accelerators preparations. We were selected with 3 other great startups: Heddoko, Elysia and Logrr. At the end of this experience, two teams will be chosen for a multi-day in Silicon Valley including pitching to investors and learning from the best startups.
A lot of good things are coming for MakerBloks! Stay up to date with our newsletter and stay tuned to our upcoming Kickstarter campaign!