FALL RIVER — On May 27, 48 students from four Catholic elementary schools descended upon Bishop Connolly High School for the first annual Science Olympiad. Many arrived with siblings and other family members who were able to take advantage of the beautiful campus and enjoy the late spring weather. Students in grades 1- 4 from All Saints Catholic School and Holy Family Holy Name School — both in New Bedford — as well as students from Espirito Santo School and Holy Name School of Fall River paired up to tackle two challenges per grade. Eight Bishop Connolly High School students were responsible for assisting competitors as they navigated events and then judged the performance of each team.
The following were the challenges for each grade level:
A-Weigh We Go — Using a simple balance, students estimated relative mass, determined the actual mass, and rank ordered by mass a variety of objects.
Monster Match — Given a set of 30 Monster Cards, students were challenged to pick out pairs and triplets of monsters with one or more common characteristics. Given a list of characteristics, students were asked to determine how many of the monsters exhibited all of the characteristics listed.
Science Detectives — Students were asked to list the properties of materials and to find objects that matched a list of physical properties. In addition, students were challenged to make a diaper for a Baby Alive doll. Given a bag of materials commonly found in the home, students tested the materials and selected those that were most appropriate for the purpose of making an absorbent and waterproof diaper.
Grasp-a-Graph — Students prepared and analyzed data in bar, line, and pie graph formats. They also demonstrated their understanding of cartesian coordinates by identifying objects found as specific coordinates on a cartesian plane.
Ready, Set, Go! — Students designed and built race cars that were propelled down a track by magnetic forces. Students were challenged to incorporate magnets into their car design and into a handheld device that could push or pull their race car without actually touching it.
Making and Using a Key — As an introductory activity, students used a taxonomic key to identify flavors of Bertie Bott’s jelly beans. Given 10 alien cards, they were then challenged to create their own dichotomous key and use it to identify an unknown alien. Finally, they used a traditional dichotomous key to identify leaves commonly found in Massachusetts.
Candy Safe — Students were presented with a candy safe — a small box filled with candy. Given an assortment of batteries, wires, lights, and buzzers, students were tasked with designing an electric circuit to signal when their candy safe has been breached. Students were required to draw circuit diagrams using traditional circuit symbols.
Write It/ Do It — In this communication event, students were challenged to describe how to put together a structure in detail, using only words. Once completed, their partners were given the building instructions and a bag of parts and were charged with putting an exact copy of the original structure together.
Judges used scoring rubrics that reflected how well students answered questions or met the building challenges presented to them. Judges awarded gold Olympic-style medals to the winning pair in each event. Teams were given points for a first-, second-, or third-place finish in each event, and these points were used to determine the winning school.
This year, Espirito Santo took home the Olympiad trophy!