The Challenge  is an academic competition for students in grades 5-8, where the excitement and value of chemistry takes center stage! By middle school, most U.S. students have not studied chemistry as its own subject. Participating in a Challenge offers a critical exposure to this content. 

Students compete individually by answering multiple choice questions in a bee-style competition, starting with a Local Challenge in their community. Students can advance to a State Challenge, and even ultimately to the National Challenge – in its 14th year in 2018!

Where are the Challenge Sites in your area?

Click on the map or select a state/territory from the dropdown above.

How does the Challenge work?

The Challenge is an academic competition that starts at the school level and continues with Local, State, and National Challenge competitions. CEF relies on a network of volunteers, our Challenge Organizers, to coordinate participation and plan the Local and State Challenge competitions.

challenge flow chart

The Challenge begins with students completing the Challenge Qualifier, a short multiple choice test provided by CEF and administered by educators and/or Organizers. Based on student participation in a Local Challenge site and/or state, a select number of students will advance to the next level of competition.

Local and State Challenge competitions operate in a quiz bowl format with several rounds of multiple choice questions. Questions are displayed to both the participants and audience on a screen, then students use electronic response devices to indicate their answers. Students participate individually in the Challenge competitions. The students who score the highest will move on to the next level of competition (as noted in the chart above) with the top participant from each state advancing to the National Challenge!

CEF also provides free study materials to help students prepare for the Challenge. For more information and participation requirements, read the Challenge Official Rules.

Want to be involved with the Challenge? Complete this Inquiry Form to get started!