A total of 400 students representing 73 teams from 26 schools from across Central Alabama recently put their critical thinking, problem-solving, and engineering skills to the test as they competed in various events at the second annual Science Festival at the University of Montevallo.
The event was co-sponsored by the University of Montevallo, Shelby County Schools Gifted Education Department and AMSTI Science Specialists in order to provide more opportunities for third, fourth, and fifth-grade students to participate in out-of-class science experiences.
The goal of the Science Festival is to encourage students to develop a passion for science and engineering, which in turn will spark interest in STEM occupations for these leaders of tomorrow. Students work in teams to showcase their ingenuity and understanding of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) concepts to solve complex design problems.
“This event is unique because students use their problem solving and critical thinking skills to design and construct devices on-site for an egg drop, trebuchet, and draw bridge competition,” said Dr. Lusia MacPherson, Supervisor of Gifted Education and Advanced Programs. “They do not know ahead of time what materials they will be given. As they wait for their turn to compete, the students are given opportunities to engage in other science and engineering activities, like building a tower or other construction activities.”
This year, the Science Festival featured a medieval theme. Students were asked to use their talents and creativity to draw pictures depicting the historic development of modern technology and engineering in medieval times. By involving art, STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) concepts are supported. The winner of the art contest, Max Cecil from Mt Laurel Elementary, was announced in September.
Winners at this year’s Science Festival were:
Draw Bridge: First Place – Deer Valley Elementary, Team B16; Second Place – Forest Oaks Elementary, Team B5; and Third Place – Oak Mountain Intermediate, Team B6.
Trebuchet: First Place – Elvin Hill Elementary, Team T6; Second Place – Munford Elementary, Team T10; and Third Place – Helena Intermediate, Team T14.
Egg Drop – First Place – Calera Intermediate, Team E33; Second Place – Calera Intermediate, Team E27. There was no third place award given because the two teams from Calera Intermediate were the only two teams out of 33 to build a structure that successfully protected their eggs.
For a complete gallery of photos from the event visit our Facebook page: http://tinyurl.com/obo8kfv.