High School Students from City and Region will Aim for the Podium in Lakehead’s Science Olympics

(Wednesday, March 13, 2012 – Thunder Bay, ON)

Lakehead University’s upcoming Science Olympics Northwestern Ontario will be a great opportunity for curious high school students to learn through doing, with help from professors and university students running the exciting events.

Local and regional students from grades 9 to 12 will work in groups to solve fun challenges that apply their knowledge of science and engineering in creative ways.

“Science Olympics is an excellent way to engage students in science, engineering and math while introducing them to Lakehead University,” said Dr. Andrew Dean, Dean of the Faculty of Science and Environmental Studies.

Science Olympics Northwestern Ontario is a joint venture among Youth Science Ontario, the Faculty of Science and Environmental Studies, the Faculty of Education and the Faculty of Engineering at Lakehead University.

“Science Olympics events are designed to be challenging – each team must apply their scientific knowledge and skills to achieve success,” said Dr. John O’Meara, Dean of the Faculty of Education. “In our eyes, success isn’t winning, it’s learning.”

Students from Thunder Bay and the region will work in groups of four in Junior (grades 9 and 10) and Senior (grades 11 and 12) categories, using knowledge they’ve learned in high school to compete in three different events.

The fourth and final event brings Junior and Senior groups together to see which can design the best paper plane and helium balloon launch system.

“I’m looking forward to watching students compete in this final event because it will bring together everything they have learned and they should really enjoy it, too,” said Dr. David Barnett, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering.

Members of the media are invited to attend:

Location: Port Arthur Collegiate Institute, 401 Red River Rd., Thunder Bay
Date: Friday, March 22, 2012

Time: Between 9:20 am and 2:30 pm (Awards Ceremony is from 1:35 to 2:30 pm)


Junior (Grades 9 and 10)

Event 1 – Models of Cells (9:20 to 10:05 am)
Teams spend 20 minutes using materials provided to build a labeled model of an animal and/or plant cell. Teams then make an oral presentation to the judges to describe key structural components. Materials chosen enable teams to demonstrate their creativity and knowledge.

Event 2 – Long Distance Runner (10:10 to 10:55 am)
Teams construct a balloon-powered vehicle using the materials supplied. The goal is to create the vehicle that travels the greatest distance along the gym floor. Teams will make two judged attempts. The team with the best attempt gains the highest score.

Event 3 – Race to the Molecules (11:15 am to noon)
Teams communicate to build molecular models. Photographs of completed molecular models, e. g. SO2 (sulphur dioxide) or C6H6CH3 (toluene), are placed in the hall. A team member communicates details of the structure to their team, who use the components to build that model that will be judged.

Senior (Grades 11 and 12)

Event 1 – Fermi Questions (9:20 to 10:05 am)
Fermi questions are well-defined problems solved through estimation and approximation. Teams solve 25 problems in 40 minutes. The event takes place in the gym. Calculators, computers or any other device, including crib sheets, lists of constants, formulae, etc., are not permitted. Pencils and scratch paper are provided. There is a local focus to some of the questions.

Event 2 – INDYcator 500 (10:10 to 10:55 am)
Teams use a range of indicators to measure the pH of three unknown liquids. They are provided with buffer solutions of known pH values and work to get precise values for the pH of all three unknowns in the lowest time possible (different from last year's Junior version).

Event 3 – Models of Cells (11:15 am to noon)
Teams spend 20 minutes using materials to build a labeled model of a biological macro-molecule (DNA, RNA or a protein such as Myoglobin). Teams make an oral presentation describing key structural components. The materials chosen by students enable them to demonstrate their creativity and knowledge.

Common Event 4 (all students) – Balloon Plane Launch (12:45 to 1:30 pm)
Teams in both categories design a paper plane and helium balloon launch system. The plane airborne the longest wins!

Visit http://facscien.lakeheadu.ca/?display=page&pageid=47 for more information.


Media: For more information, please contact Brandon Walker, Media Relations Officer, at (807) 343-8177.

Lakehead University
Lakehead is a comprehensive university with a reputation for a multidisciplinary teaching approach that emphasizes collaborative learning and independent critical thinking. More than 8,700 students and 1,850 faculty and staff learn and work at campuses located in Orillia, and Thunder Bay, Ontario, which is home to the west campus of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. Lakehead University promotes innovative research that supports local and regional socio-economic needs. In Orillia, development continues on building a campus that meets Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) standards.

Last updated March 13, 2013

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