‹ Back to All Elements It's Elemental

Students may enter the contest as individuals or as a team. Our submission period closed on January 7, 2011. 

Our Sponsors

It’s Elemental is supported by a grant from the Richard Lounsbery Foundation and a gift from DuPont.

Dow logoIt’s Elemental and other programs aligned with the International Year of Chemistry (IYC 2011) have been supported by many charitable individuals and organizations. CHF acknowledges generous lead sponsorship support by The Dow Chemical Company.

IYC 2011 logoThis program is part of CHF’s year-long celebration of the International Year of Chemistry (IYC 2011), a United Nations–designated initiative celebrating chemistry and its contributions to the well-being of humankind.


Judging Criteria

  • Presentation of scientific information
    The information contained in the video is accurate and has depth and focus.
  • Integration of historical and/or social context
    The video places the element within a historical or social context rather than merely listing factual information about the element.
  • Effective presentation and technical merit
    The video shows good production standards. All material is relevant and appropriate to the subject. The story is well structured, with, for example, a story arc or central theme that is explicitly developed.
  • Overall artistry and quality
    The video shows good artistic quality and attention to detail. The look and feel of the video is consistent and shows deliberate design.

Contest Rules

The contest is open to U.S. high school students. All videos will be screened by CHF staff in advance of posting to the contest website. Download the complete contest rules.

Technical Requirements

  • Videos must be submitted in MPEG format (.mpg). Use this or a similar converter tool if you need to reformat your video.
  • Videos must be 3–5 minutes in length.


With the widespread availability of simple video equipment and software, you don’t need anything fancy to create a great video for this contest. If, however, you are interested in purchasing video-production equipment, download these basic and mid-range equipment and software lists.


  • March 2010
    Competition rollout at NSTA conference in Philadelphia.
  • July 2010
    Additional information about contest available at CHF’s Web site.
  • September 2010
    Interactive periodic table live on CHF’s Web site.
  • Fall 2010
    Students upload videos to interactive periodic table. Pre-judging happens as videos come in. People’s Choice judging is ongoing as videos are posted.
  • January 7, 2011
  • February 2011
    Final judging of all videos.
  • March 2011
    Winners notified.
  • April 2011
    Award ceremony in Philadelphia during CHF’s Heritage Day.

Our Judges

CHF has assembled a distinguished panel of judges for It’s Elemental:

  • Ivan Amato, author of Stuff and Super Vision: A New View of Nature
  • Michael Gordin, Professor of History, Princeton University, and author of A Well-Ordered Thing: Dmitrii Mendeleev and the Shadow of the Periodic Table
  • Roald Hoffmann, Nobel Prize–winning chemist, and Frank H. T. Rhodes Professor Emeritus of Humane Letters, Cornell University
  • Catherine T. (Katie) Hunt, Senior R&D Director, External Science and Technology, Dow Chemical Company, and former President, American Chemical Society
  • Sam Kean, author of The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements
  • Adam Rogers, Senior Editor, Wired, and Special Correspondent, Wired Science
  • Thomas R. Tritton, President and CEO, Chemical Heritage Foundation
  • Darryl Williams, Program Director, National Science Foundation
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