National City STEAM

Youth Artwork Competition: Call for Entries

Please note the deadline has been extended to December 14!

Create artwork inspired by the STEAM category for your grade level and you could win $100 in a savings account for college! Selected artwork will become part of the poster for National City’s first annual 16 Weeks of STEAM.

Examples of artwork can be a digital painting, photography, a photo of your mixed-media collage or a drawing, etc.

NEW Deadline for Entries: December 14, 2020


Entry Submission Requirements:

  • Digital artwork or photograph/scan of physical artwork
  • Up to 2MB file size
  • Student must live in National City
  • Winners will be notified on December 18th.

Here are the categories:

  • TK-3rd Grade artwork must focus on the Hydrosphere
  • 4th-6th Grade artwork must focus on the Geosphere
  • 7th-8th Grade artwork must focus on the Atmosphere
  • 9th-12th Grade artwork must focus on the Biosphere

But, what are the 16 Weeks of STEAM?

National City’s 16 Weeks of STEAM initiative is designed to offer families
enrichment opportunities that focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics (STEAM) with a special emphasis on conservation. ARTS has partnered with National School District, the San Diego STEM Ecosystem, the National City Library and other businesses and organizations to provide a variety of resources, activities and fun challenges that provide families with an awareness of our city’s natural resources and ways to preserve them for future generations.

The 16 Weeks of STEAM will take place between February and May 2021. Each month will focus on one of four STEAM areas:


Seeking artwork from youth in grades TK-3rd in any medium that best reflects how water systems are connected.

The hydrosphere includes all the waters on the earth’s surface, such as lakes and seas, and sometimes including water over the earth’s surface, such as clouds. Here are some examples:

  • Water Cycle – the process by which water on the earth evaporates, then condenses in the atmosphere, and then returns to earth in the form of precipitation. Rain and snow are forms of precipitation and are part of the water cycle.
  • River – a large natural stream of water flowing in a particular course toward a lake, ocean, or other body of water.
  • Ocean – the vast body of salt water covering about three-quarters of the earth’s surface.
  • Water Pollution – poisons, wastes, or other materials that get into our water systems and pollute our hydrosphere.


Seeking artwork from youth in grades 4th-6th in any medium that best reflects how earth systems are connected.

The geosphere refers to the solid parts of the Earth and is part of the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere and the term is used to describe the systems of the Earth. We are going to focus on just a small segment of the geosphere in this unit. Our overarching theme will be through food! We begin by exploring the tiny seed. Then we will move to gardens and farming and finally conclude with a unit on cooking and the farmers market! Our goal is to have your family have fun with experiments, crafts, music, and more while understanding how the Earth is a unique and special place. The geosphere is truly integrated with the hydrosphere and the atmosphere.

  • Geosphere: Refers to the solid parts of the Earth; it is used along with the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere to describe the systems of the Earth 
  • Seed: A flowering plant’s unit of reproduction, capable of developing into another plant.
  • Microgreens: The shoots of salad vegetables such as arugula, mustard, etc… picked just after the first leaves have developed.
  • Seed Coat: The protective outer coat of a seed.
  • Seed Embryo: This is a part of the seed bud that contains the earliest forms of the plant’s roots, stems, and leaves.
  • Monocots: These are seeds that contain a single embryonic leaf.
  • Cotyledon: An embryonic leaf in seed-bearing plants that will first appear from a germinating seed.
  • Dicots: These seeds contain two embryonic leaves.
  • Germinate: This is the process when a seed begins to grow and put out shoots.
  • Ecosystem: Is a biological community of interacting organisms (plants, animals, etc..) and their physical environment.
  • Crops: A cultivated plant that is grown as food, especially grain, fruit, or vegetable.
  • Nutrients: A substance that provides nourishment essential for growth and maintenance of life.
  • Soil: The upper layer of Earth in which plants grow.
  • Photosynthesis: The process by which green plants and some other organisms use sunlight to create foods from carbon dioxide and water. 
  • Farmer’s Market: A food market at which local farmers sell fruit and vegetables and often meat, cheese, and bakery products directly to consumers.


Seeking artwork from youth in grades 7th-8th in any medium that best reflects how atmospheric systems are connected.

The atmosphere refers to the envelope surrounding the Earth. Without the atmosphere, there would be no life on Earth! Here are some examples:

  • Atmosphere: The envelope of gasses surrounding the Earth.
  • Troposphere: The lowest region of the atmosphere, extending from the Earth’s surface to a height of about 3.7-6.2 miles.
  • Weather: The state of the atmosphere at a place and time. This could include heat, dryness, sunshine, wind, rain, etc.
  • Barometer: An instrument used to measure atmospheric pressure. Especially important for weather forecasting and determining altitude.
  • Flight: The action or process of flying through the air.
  • Gravity: The force that attracts the body toward the center of the Earth, or any other physical body having mass.
  • Air Pressure Themes.
  • Weather & Cloud Themes.
  • Flight Themes.
  • Air Pollution Themes.


The biosphere includes the regions of the surface of the Earth and includes the atmosphere, Lithosphere (Land), and hydrosphere occupied by living organisms. The biosphere is also referred to as the ecosphere. Did you know it can be termed the “zone of life on Earth!”In San Diego County there are 10 major ecosystems types. Here, we are going to explore 4:

  • Urban – The characteristics of a town or city
  • Urban Ecosystem – An urban ecosystem is simply the community of plants, animals, and humans that inhabit the urban environment. It is an area physically dominated by built structures like buildings, roads, sewers, and power lines.
  • Chaparral
  • Coastal
  • Grassland

Seeking artwork from youth in grades 9th-12th in any medium that best reflects how the biosphere is interconnected.

NEW Deadline for Entries: December 14, 2020


National City’s 16 Weeks of STEAM naturally connect with the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals. These goals are the National School District’s primary focus.

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

If you have questions about the artwork call for entries, please contact: