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Science Throwdown rules at Penn Yan

PENN YAN—Science Throwdown has completed another successful run at Penn Yan Academy last week.
Science teacher Ann Paige spoke about the program and its popularity. Paige said the group of seven faculty members involved in the event get together through the school year to plan the program. The students progress to more challenging tasks during the event. On the first night, one of the challenges was to build a bridge out of marshmallows. The bridge that could hold the most weight was the winner. Seven teams were eliminated on the first night. On the second night, one of the two projects the remaining 12 teams faced was to generate their own hydrogen and oxygen to propel a “rocket.”
The five teams left on the last day built hot air balloons out of tissue paper and wrote instructions for bots to follow.
The program this year included 19 teams of three students each who tackled challenges that tested science, technology, and math. This year they competed on three consecutive evenings. The four-hour sessions included three tasks the first night and two each of the next nights. By Thursday, March 3 there were just five teams left.
Paige said the teams are composed of different groups of students. The composition of the faculty members involved is also multi-generational. Paige said, “We are from all different departments. All are volunteers. We are promoting 20th century skills; teamwork, collaboration, problem solving, trouble shooting, researching, and flexibility.”
Paige said the faculty volunteers are talking about getting kids to the 21st century. The program is good because it does not have the limitation of time and curriculum. She compared it to an old fashioned science fair. The focus and sense of fun was evident in the two classrooms where the students worked on their final projects.




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