FFCA Teams at the Science Olympics

FFCA Teams at the Science Olympics by: Tamara Roberts & Ekaterina Surova
Posted on 05/29/2024
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Unbeknownst to each other, we turned up at the Science Olympics on Saturday to find out there were at least four FFCA teams! Two in grade 2 from SEE, apparently one in grade 4 that we didn’t see but heard were there, and one in grade 5 from SMS. Of course, the teams cheered each other on all day. ❤️

All teams had completed a challenge over the last couple of months (determined by their division) and came prepared to present to the judges today for points. An interesting thing about the Science Olympics is that you are not competing against each other but rather against the criteria. As long as you check all the boxes, you will get full points. And full points win gold!

Then throughout the day, there are a couple of mystery challenges assigned, and teams work together without their coaches to complete the task. Our Div 1 teams had to sort a box of rocks and they had to use a scale to figure out which rocks were which by their weight. Our second mystery challenge was to build a cardboard building and find a way to climb up to save a cat stuck on the top floor. In both cases, materials were provided and no adult help was allowed. Parents and coaches sat in the stands and we could see it looked like our team (the Cheetahs) was working very well together. The Cheetahs passed both mystery challenges while awaiting their turn with the judges to evaluate their home project.

Finally, it was our turn to present our sound-sensing device to the judge. Students had five minutes to explain all that went on over the last couple of months in the creation and testing of the device. Through their presentation, they covered the criteria such as using recycled or reusable materials, working together as a team to make improvements, testing out different options, etc.

Before approaching the judging station, the Cheetahs already knew there could be a problem as the organizers of the event never specified the sounds for which the device would be tested. We had noticed the testing station created sound at much lower levels than we had used when creating the device and, even though our device worked with our homemade test station, we’re pretty sure this is where we lost points. There just wasn’t enough sound to make our device show its full abilities! We hope the organizers will share the projects of the winning contestants with everyone to help identify what areas teams could have improved.

That said, we are extremely proud of our 5 Cheetahs (and their brilliant coach & parent Katya) who won a silver medal. We are also proud of all the other FFCA team members there. The other grade 2 team (the Frequency Finders) from SEE won gold and the grade 5 team (the Model Masters) from SMS won silver as well!

We will just have to go back next year and try again for gold!!

Postscript by Coach Cheenam Dham on her team’s experience in the pursuit of gold:

"As their coach (Dham), I had the privilege of guiding the "Frequency Finders" team through their inspiring journey at the APEGA Science Olympics 2024. With focus and a collaborative spirit, these Grade 2 students immersed themselves in the engineering design process, crafting a sound vibration measurement tool capable of capturing both the subtlest whispers and the loudest frequencies. These young minds delved into the complexities of acoustics, ingeniously crafting a device that meticulously gauged the effects of sound waves across multiple mediums, including the fascinating non-Newtonian fluid, Oobleck.

Their collective effort culminated in a well-earned gold in a competitive division of 45 teams. Their triumph celebrates not just a victory for science, but the joy of discovery and the power of teamwork.

I am incredibly proud of what they accomplished through their growth mindset and shared enthusiasm for science. 

I encourage budding scientists to join us in the captivating realm of science next year, where collaboration enhances learning and enjoyment fuels innovative and playful accomplishments." 





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