Grade 5 Scientists Shine at The Kids' Science Challenge
The Kids' Science Challenge is a nationwide competition for Grade 3-6 students. For this innovative competition, students group together to submit experiments and problems for scientists and engineers to solve. Every year, Cape Henry Lower School students have earned finalist rankings in the competition, and for the first time this year, Cape Henry has two national finalist teams. This is a mighty accomplishment, as winners were selected from thousands of students competing across the country. The students are immensely proud of their hard work.
The Black Diamonds, a team made up of Cole Shenigo, Ethan Olivieri, Carolyn Vanty, and Mason Wolff, say working together was the hardest part of the entire project. "We really wanted the prizes, so that encouraged us to come to an understanding," says Carolyn.
Since their group chose to tackle the "Zero Waste" category of the competition, their mission was to create a sustainable, reusable package made of materials that won't harm the earth and use less energy to ship.
The Black Diamonds' answer to this problem is the "weg." "It's a bag made of materials based on spider webs, so we made the name a combination of the words 'web' and 'bag,'" says Mason.
"When we were looking at biodegradable material, protein seemed to be the best. Since diamonds are too expensive, we picked spider webs," adds Ethan Olivieri.
The Back Diamonds built a model and presented the "weg" for Science Extravaganza before writing a two-page research paper to send into The Kids' Science Challenge.
Also earning first place bragging rights are the Golden Power Minds, a group made up of Grade 5 students Mary-Kate Reid, Alyssa Scott, Jason Paphites, and Parker Tanner-Vigil. This group decided to compete in the "Meals on Mars" category, in which they were challenged to come up with a new way to preserve, cook, deliver, or sustainably produce food in flight or on mars. The new product couldn't produce crumbs or take up much space.
For their meal on Mars, the Golden Power Minds dreamed up "Aqua Crunch," a drink contained in an edible tube.
"We first thought of making gum. Then we thought we could make toothpaste you can swallow," explains Parker Tanner-Vigil.
"The miracle berry is what helped us invent "Aqua Crunch," says Mary-Kate Reid. The miracle berry is a remarkable fruit with the ability to flavor almost anything.
"Bioplastic material and the m-berry make 'Aqua Crunch' taste good," adds Jason Paphites.
The Golden Power Minds' biggest challenge in their quest was deciding which project category to take on. Once they dreamed up their idea for "Aqua Crunch," they said the toughest part was writing their summaries to send to The Kids' Science Challenge.
"The best part of the project was making the model and the poster," says Alyssa Scott, "and presenting at the Science Extravaganza!"
The project itself was for The Kids' Science Challenge, but both winning teams were present at Cape Henry's Science Extravaganza to share their hard work with their parents and fellow students. The Grade 5 students, who dressed up for the event, were the youngest presenters in attendance.
Mrs. Northam adds, "With the dense curriculum in Lower School science, the students become very comfortable with the scientific method. This contest is a fun and exciting way to introduce students to the Engineering Design Process. It allows them to think critically and creatively, while learning to collaborate with teammates. It fosters scientific literacy through their research and writing. They even built a prototype to proudly explain their ideas to their parents and peers at the Science Extravaganza."
Our two triumphant teams are featured on The Kids' Science Challenge national website
. The Grade 5 students smile from ear to ear in anticipation of their prizes, which will be presented to them at assembly on Friday, May 18. The Black Diamonds and The Golden Power Minds are in agreement that the success and learning opportunities of the project make any difficulties they had along the way well worth the trouble. Congratulations, students!