Ladysmith science kids top of the class

  • Jun. 6, 2011 1:00 p.m.

They came, they saw, and they took home first place. A group of Grade 5 students from Ecole Davis Road turned heads when they took top spot in the All-Science Challenge, a competition designed for middle school students.Grace Mannix, 10, Hailey Martens, 11, Colton Van Der Minne, 10, and Meghan Henry, 11, also known as the Ecole Davis Orcas, say the experience was a great learning opportunity.“We came into it like, ‘Yeah, we’re going to try it, and maybe come back next year,’ ” Henry said. “It was scary because most of [the competitors] had experience, so it was kind of nerve-wracking that we were the youngest there, and it was like, ‘how are we going to do this’.”The Let’s Talk Science – 2011 All Science Challenge was held at the University of Victoria May 16. Fifteen middle school (Grade 6-8) teams from Victoria and Ladysmith battled it out in a science trivia game-show-style competition in different areas of the field.Doug English, Ecole Davis Road principal said school originally planned to send their Grade 6-7 team, the EDR Dolphins, however, the four young students were so keen, he asked if it was possible to involve them as well. “They were supposed to be the understudies, the back-up support to help the other team and they ended up competing against them at the last minute,” he said. “It wasn’t until the end of the competition that everyone found out they were younger.”The competition was made up of 15 group questions, 15 individual questions, and a team construction challenge. “You really had to read between the lines with the questions,” Martens said.In the two months prior to the competition, teams are given a 120-page manual to study.For the construction challenge, the students were given a box of materials and had to use three of the items to protect an egg while its is dropped three times at different heights. Team EDR Orcas chose two sponges and tape. To add to the difficulty of the task, each egg had a smiley face drawn on and that was to remain visible after the construction was complete. The Orcas’ structure survived all three test drops without cracking.“With the tape, I figured it would be sort of like a car shock,” Van Der Minne explained. All four kids say they want to pursue careers in the sciences. “Science is everywhere and you kind of have to know science,” Van Der Minne said.Those fields may include marine biology and bio-chemistry. “I want to do something with math when I get older because that was my favourite subject in the math challenge,” Mannix said.For their stupendous cerebral scientific success, the students received a special sack of goodies full of gift cards, trinkets and a commemorative plaque.They say they are eager, but nervous to take on the challenge next year.“I’m kind of scared to go back next year because we’re going to have to work even harder to defend our title,” Mannix said.Van Der Minne said the competition was a great way to get a leg up on their fellow classmates and the curriculum in the coming school years.

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