Rules

General Provisions

The rules noted herein are subject to change and may, from time to time, be updated by the PTMC management. All updates shall be announced publicly on the PTMC website and through the PTMC email newsletter. It is the responsibility of participants to ensure their understanding of and compliance with the PTMC rules. Questions about the PTMC rules should be sent to: ptmc@competitionsciences.org. The PTMC management shall not provide responses to questions that are specific to a team’s project. Failure to adhere to the rules noted herein shall be cause for disqualification from the Challenge. Determination of disqualification shall be at the sole discretion of the PTMC management. Any decision of disqualification is final.

Eligibility

  1. Age: students must be no younger than 13 years old and no older than 19 years old (for the High School Division), or no younger than 17 years old (for the Professional Division), by August 1st of the respective year of the competition.
  2. Country: students may be from any country.
  3. Grades: students competing in the High School Division must be in 9th through 12th grades or the international equivalent. These restrictions do not apply to the Professional Division.
  4. Educational Organizations: high school students may be in any type of schooling; formal, informal, homeschool, etc. These restrictions do not apply to the Professional Division.
  5. Student Team Limitation: students may be on no more than one team.
  6. Team Members: teams may include between one to five students.
  7. Adult Coach: each team must have an adult “Coach” noted on the submission.
  8. Limitations on the number of teams per coach: there are no limitations on the number of teams a Coach may support.
  9. Limitations on the number of teams per organization: organizations may submit as many teams as they like so long as the teams adhere to all rules and regulations herein. There is no limitation on the number of teams in the PTMC from any organization.
  10. Past Participant Limitations: Students who have participated in past seasons of the PTMC may participate again under the following stipulations. Each season requires a new registration and kit for each team. The use of second or third generation seeds, simulant mixtures, leftover simulant is permitted to augment the new simulant for a new season. Teams should have a different experimental design than a previous season. If the same variables are under study, a note on the way that the new design builds on previous research or the refinement of protocols or measurements should be included in the Initial Experiment Design. If a team has previously been awarded in a Best in Show category and participates in a new season, the team must have a substantially different and/or clearly identified difference in their experiments from one season to the next to be eligible for a Best in Show Award in a subsequent season. Teams will not receive a Best in Show Award more than one time for the same experimental design. Definition of what constitutes a significantly similar project topic is up to the determination of the PTMC Judging Committee.
  11. Kit: Participation in the PTMC requires a new registration and purchase of a kit for each season. Teams cannot participate with remnant simulant from a previous season
    without a new kit and registration purchase.

Registrations

  1. User registration: Coaches shall register as users on the Institute of Competition Sciences (ICS) online platform. Coaches must have a user account in order to officially register a team for the PTMC. Other team members are not required to have an account.
  2. Team Registration: to compete for the PTMC, a team must be registered on the ICS platform. Team registration must be completed by the Coach.
  3. Team Coach: all participating teams must have a Coach registered as a user on the ICS platform.
  4. Changing Team Members: a team may add or remove a team member at any time prior to the submission of the Final Report without notification to the PTMC staff. The official Team Roster shall be the members listed as part of the Final Report submission.

Experiments

  1. Planting and growth of the experiments (including germination) should take place during the 8-week grow period. Growth conducted outside of this window must be approved by the Challenge staff.
  2. Experimental designs must be different for each registered team and adhere to the following:
    a) If a coach has multiple teams, each PTMC team should be conducting a different experiment with distinctly different final reports submitted.
    b) Teams must clearly identify 1 or 2 experimental parameters to study.
    c) Any crops grown should be edible plants to support the goals of the PTMC.
    d) All plants should be grown from seeds, not already sprouted plants (starting with tubers or mushroom spores are permitted). Germination of seeds (if applicable) must be done during the 8-week grow period.
    e) All plants should be grown in individual containers, not open-bed gardens.
    f) With the exception of control pots, the simulant must be at least 50% (as measured by volume) of the mixtures in the pots. Amendments, earth soil, fertilizer, etc. cannot be more than 50% by volume in each pot.
    g) There must be at least one control pot for each experimental parameter under study.
    h) All additives and amendments must be recorded in experiment records and included in final reports.
    i) Data recordings of experimental progress should be collected and reported at least weekly in the final reports.
  3. Re-seeding (ie, “replanting”) due to failure to sprout or grow is permitted at any point in the experiment. All replanting must be included in documentation and records.
  4. In Lunar or Martian missions, the grow space would be “indoors” in a controlled environment. For the PTMC, the grow space can be indoor or outdoor though indoor spaces are recommended for experiment design integrity. Teams should consider the environmental factors (eg, temperature, humidity, etc.) in controlling variables of the grow environment. If pots are moved locations at any point in the 8-Grow Period (after planting) make notes in the weekly data records and final report.
  5. Teams may continue their experiments beyond the 8-week grow period for their own research but growth as reported for the final reports cannot exceed 8 consecutive weeks.

Submissions

  1. All submissions must be the work of the student team members.
  2. A team’s Coach or other adult mentors may provide guidance to the team; however, they may not make excessive contributions to the project submissions.
  3. Submissions may not plagiarize material; all facts, figures, charts, or other information used must be cited.
  4. All submission materials shall be submitted electronically through the Institute of Competition Sciences’ (ICS) online platform.
  5. Submissions must be uploaded by the submission deadline noted on the PTMC website. No late submissions will be allowed to qualify for awards, but will be accepted for Certificates of Completion.
  6. Additional detail on the submission content and structure is provided in the PTMC Project Guide and materials available on the ICS Dashboard.

Judging

  1. Submission judging is conducted by a committee of Plant the Moon Challenge advisors following a scoring rubric.
  2. The evaluation criteria included in the scoring rubric shall be provided to teams in the PTMC Project Guide on the ICS Dashboard.
  3. Best in Show awards shall be conferred upon teams by the judging committee in both a quantitative and qualitative review.
  4. Evaluation of the Judging Committee is final.

Awards

  1. The PTMC provides up to two Best-in-Show awards in the following categories (up to one in the High School Division and up to one in the Professional Division): Innovation, Experimental Design, Plant Growth, and Evaluation of Results. 
  2. Each Award includes the following:
    a) Recognition during the Live PTMC Closing Ceremony
    b) Recognition on the PTMC website
    c) Feedback on the team’s project from the Science Advisory Board.
    d) Certificates of Recognition for each team member and coach.

Code of Conduct

All PTMC participants are held to high personal ethical standards. We expect all participants to treat others with respect and courtesy. Participants should be considerate of the diverse backgrounds and perspectives of others. The decisions you make and actions you conduct during your participation in the Challenge should be honest and truthful to the best of your ability and should refrain from disparaging other participants in any way. We trust that you will not conduct yourself in a matter that tampers with the outcomes, fabricates submissions, or plagiarizes content. If at any point you are unsure about the ethical conduct of your team, please reach out to the PTMC management for clarification. Failure to abide by the PTMC Code of Conduct may result in the team’s disqualification from the Challenge. All PTMC participants shall adhere to the following codes of conduct:

Sportsmanship: participants shall not make disparaging remarks about other participants of the PTMC or their work. Participants are expected to conduct themselves according to the following rules of good sportsmanship:

  1. Treat other participants, judges, mentors, staff, and volunteers with respect, regardless of race, sex, creed, ability or any other factor.
  2. Encourage good sportsmanship in all participants and assist in maintaining a respectful environment for all. Provide positive support and encouragement to team members, and other teams alike.
  3. Refrain from making offensive or disparaging remarks about another team’s project or participants.
  4. Refrain from making offensive or disparaging remarks about individuals supporting the PTMC including but not limited to: personnel, staff, mentors, judges, and volunteers. Recognize that all supporters of the PTMC are conducting themselves so as to organize and manage the best academic challenge possible.
  5. Be courteous to opposing teams, judges, mentors, staff, and volunteers at all times.
  6. Recognize that judges are donating their time and are doing their best to make unbiased, fair and timely decisions.
  7. Accept the decisions of judges as final, and with good grace. If you have a specific concern with how the judging process was conducted you may bring it up with the PTMC staff by contacting ptmc@competitionsciences.org.

Plagiarism: participants shall not plagiarize materials of any kind in their work for the PTMC. Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to, the use of another’s words or ideas as if they are one’s own. Plagiarism and any kind of academic cheating are grounds for dismissal from the Challenge.

Use of Artificial Intelligence: Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a tool that can be used in the development of a project but cannot be used in writing the team’s project report. The use of AI, including ChatGPT, to generate or modify project report content is strictly prohibited. Students should not represent any work done by an AI as their own. The Institute of Competition Sciences reserves the right to use AI Detection Technologies to check for AI-generated content in the team Project Report. If the Institute of Competition Sciences discover at any time, during or after the challenge, that an entry contains material generated by Artificial Intelligence, the student and teacher who submitted the entry may be immediately disqualified and may be obligated to forfeit any award recognition and any and all prizes that may have been provided to them in connection with their entries.