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Science Olympics

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Keywords: students as teachers, high school/grade school interaction, student mentoring, Science Olympics, ELL science, hands-on learning of science
Subject(s): Science, Chemistry
Grades K through 12
School: Reynolds High School, Troutdale, OR
Planned By: Jon Congdon
Original Author: Jon Congdon, Troutdale
Subject: Integrated Science
Grade Level: K-5 and 10-12
How much time is needed to conduct the project?
Two days at the Elementary School and about one week at the high school.

Objectives: Groups of high school students will present an interactive science lesson to 24 groups of K-5th grade students
•The students will learn how science equipment operates and how to safely use that equipment.
•The students will create methods for instructing elementary age children in science and evaluate the effectiveness of those methods.

•A Science Olympics booklet with 6 activities for the children to complete is printed in three colors (one color for each of three rows of identical activities)
•18 tables of interactive science activities are set up the day before the event will begin in the gym of the elementary school (3 sets of the same 6 groups of activities). High school students do most of the setting up.
•Award ribbons are produced to give to the children for outstanding achievement.
•Engaging activities that can be safely and repeatably completed in a period of about 10 minutes are chosen and items collected from a variety of sources to accomplish these activities.

Readiness Activity: Chemistry and ELL students chose science areas of interest to be involved in. They then do practice labs to learn about the science concepts and develop ways to present the information to grade school children in an exciting and engaging way.

The first of two days of the activity are for the K-2 grade students. Pre-arranged classes are brought to the gym during a period of one hour and fifteen minutes. The students are divided into groups of about 2-5 students each and taken to an activity table by a high school mentor. There they receive the activity booklet for all 6 activities they will be doing during the next hour (the color of the booklet distinguishes which row of activities the student belongs in). These stations involve such activities as catapulting balls into a basket to learn about motion and force; animal classification using a wide variety of animal models and endo and exoskeleton samples; static electricity; things that attract and repel; learning about balance; and human senses. The students are moved to the next table of activity in their row after about 10 minutes. This continues until every student has completed all six activity stations. The high school mentors do the instructing and make it exciting. They also identify students who deserve an award ribbon for excellent participation. The last fifteen minutes of each session are spent giving out these award ribbons in a culminating ceremony.

The second day has new activities set out in the gym for the 3-6 grade students. These activities include chemistry experiments in ziplock bags and film canisters, electric circuits, electric charge, miniature chemical rockets, amazing rocks (including fluorescing and phosphorescing rocks), and mirrors and reflection. As with the K-2 graders, the students rotate activities every 10 minutes. The culminating activity for this age group also includes dropping eggs in contraptions the students themselves will have previously constructed out of limited supplies. If the eggs survive a 12 to 14 foot drop onto the gym floor then they receive a special silk science Olympics winner ribbon.

Culminating Activity: The awards ceremony at the end of each event has been described. The high schoolers complete a personal evaluation of their involvement, what was taught, how it was presented, what was learned, and what improvements could be made. The students will then put together a Power Point presentation using still photos and video taken during the event. This presentation will be shown to the grade school during an assembly about a month after the event.
Many other activities may be substituted for the ones I have briefly mentioned. The list of materials is only partial as I ran out of room. The costs are unknown as you will simply purchase and scrounge to put together the activities with student help.
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
Science teacher training programs in colleges could benefit from such a program where the college students become the teachers and the program is done as a way to practically help the elementary schools out while effectively training the future teacher.
The students will put together a Power Point presentation using still photos and video taken during the event. This presentation will be shown to the grade school during an assembly about a month after the event.
Materials: Science, Flash/USB Drives, Batteries, Digital SLR, Point and Shoot, Mobile Labs, Word Processor, Slideshow
Other Items: 3 magnet sets, magnetic levitation, static repulsion, etc., $? each
3 Van de Graff generator, plasma spheres, etc., $? each
3 electonic kits, two-potato clocks, home-made circuits, etc., $? each
3 boxes of animal models, endo and exoskeleton displays, $? each
72 pencils, $? each
18 miscellaneous rubber stamps and ink pads, $? each
500 student science olympics activity booklets, $? each
1 wireless sound amplification system, $ 250.00 each, total of $250.00
3 rock sets, mineral lights, fluorescent lights, etc., $? each
1 hydrogen and oxygen gas tanks, jumbo pipitte bulbs, etc., $? each
Associated File: 6126.kid