If you think our middle school science and math education is below par, now is your chance to do something about it. Today the magazine Popular Science joined forces with InnoCentive to announce a new competition to come up with a series of new curricula around a series of topics. Each winner will receive a purse of $5,000. Lesson plans need to include a hands on activity for students and should cost no more than $50 total in readily available materials per class.

The deadline is the end of October and there are already several hundred people hard at work. There are prizes in five different categories such as Biomimetic Design, Climate Change, Fuel Cells, Polymers and Big Data Analysis. Middle school Hadoop developers? It could be an emerging trend: now they just aren't all about using Facebook, but designing the next data interfaces for it.

InnoCentive has lots of other crowdsourced projects and problem solving challenges on their site than the PopSci challenge, it is worth checking out if you haven't heard of them before or read our article from several years ago here.

This is the week for contests. Over on our ReadWriteHack site we mention a contest being run by the US Defense Department for wannabe computer forensic examiners. And over on our Enterprise site, we wrote last week about how Intuit paid out a series of prizes for QuickBooks and Quicken App developers .