Gladstone's Junior Science Olympics

Gladstone's science teachers have developed a fresh, fun way of implementing the new curriculum and focusing on core competencies like critical, creative thinking and communication. Grade 8 and Grade 9 students worked in small teams to solve interesting science problems at the Gladstone Junior Science Olympics.

At one station in the library, Grade 8 students put together virtual earthquake kits, prioritizing which items to include.

The library was also command central for a murder mystery game. Student detectives interviewed teachers portraying suspects in a puzzle that demonstrated science is not an end in itself, but rather a tool to solve problems. The student also experimented using the chemistry of blood typing for identification.

At another station in the school, groups tested and raced model cars they had made out of cardboard, bottle caps, straws, balloons and lots of tape.

"We spent 6 hours working on the car," said Jada, a student. "It's a lot different than what we usually do in class."

At every station, junior students were mentored by older students honing their leadership skills. The seniors also documented the events on video.

Fergus William Mccallion, head of the science department at Gladstone, said: "All the kids are actively doing the sciences, working in teams, practicing innovation. They're working on improving collaboration and communications skills. The kids will be doing their own assessments too. Did you show up? Did you talk to your team members? Did you analyze? It's different. It gets them motivated."

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