Four Riverview Elementary fifth graders and three Gold Hill Middle School students competed at Discovery Place in Charlotte in the recent “You Be the Chemist” Local Challenge and most of them go on to the next round.
Mason Roszak, a fifth grader at Riverview Elementary, finished in fourth place at the local competition and advances to the semifinal round of competition, which will be held in Columbia on April 29.
Each of Gold Hill Middle School’s students who competed advanced to the semifinals. Abigail Campbell, seventh grade, came in sixth place, Lindsey Paukovitz, seventh grade, came in third place, and Hunter Linn, sixth grade, and came in second place in the March 18 competition.
Students who win at the state competition in Columbia will advance to the national competition in Washington, DC, on June 19.
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The local challenge held at Discover Place was a quiz-bowl like competition consisting of several elimination rounds of multiple choice questions that students answered using electronic response devices. Questions were based on an overall understanding of chemistry and general science concepts.
Riverview Elementary School fifth graders began preparing for the competition in October by studying science concepts and performing experiments in preparation for the Challenge Qualifier, a multiple choice test, they took in late January to determine whether they would advance to the local competition. Noah Burch, Mia Davis, Grace Morris, and Roszak, all students in Vaughan Christenbury’s fifth grade science class, were the top four scorers on the Challenge Qualifier at Riverview, and all moved on to compete individually in the Local Challenge against other fifth to eighth-grade qualifiers from the York County area.
By participating in the “You Be the Chemist” challenge, all students and their teachers benefited by being able to utilize an entire science curriculum, including lesson plans, activities, and experiments for free throughout the school year.
“We’ve done multiple experiments like making silly putty with borax, glue, and water; and other experiments like testing acids and bases, using dish soap to lower surface tension of water, and testing butter buoyancy,” Roszak said.
“I liked the experiment we did to see which liquid made apples stay freshest,” Burch said.
“We put apples in different liquids like water, baking soda and water, and lemon juice and checked every day for a week to see which one worked the best.”
For Morris, “I’ve enjoyed doing the hands on experiments because I feel I got to learn more through the activities.”
Now, everything these students have learned this year will be put to the test in the Local Challenge.
“I’m nervous about the competition,” Davis said. “For me it’s much easier when the questions are written out on paper.”