SARATOGA SPRINGS – A team of Maple Avenue Middle School students will be competing in a regional competition to determine who will go to the upcoming U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) 27th National Science Bowl in Washington, D.C. The event will be held on March 4, at General Electric National Research in Niskayuna. The winners of the event will receive an all-expense-paid trip to D.C. to compete at the national level representing the Capital Region of New York.
The team from Maple Ave. is made up of the following students: 8th graders jack Murratti, Max Su, Stephen Verral, and Jason Zheng; 7th graders Isabelle Girolamo, Hana Nguyen, Jack Maiellaro, and Ethan Murnan; and 6th grader Andrew Hope. Their team’s coach is Maple Ave. science teacher John Scrivo.
“This is our third year participating and we made tremendous strides last year,” Scrivo said. “Finishing second in the car race and reaching the semifinals in the academic competition. This has set the bar high for this year’s team to try to improve on last year’s success.”
At this weekend’s regional event, the team will take part in two events. The first is a weighted car design challenge, wherein the team must design a small car powered by a falling weight, with the goal of getting the car to go 10 meters. This challenge is strictly designed for the regional middle school level event, and has no impact on the team moving on to the national competition. The second event, and the one that will decide if the team moves on, is an academic question-and-answer style competition. According to the DOE’s official website, teams will “tested on a range of science disciplines including biology, chemistry, Earth science, physics, energy, and math.”
The team’s preparations for the event have involved in-class and out-of-class work. In class, they have practiced for the academic challenge by answering questions using a simulated version of the buzzer system that will be used at the event. Out of class, they have been working on the designs that they will use in the falling weight challenge. This has involved not just the design for the car itself, but also the launcher that will get the car moving, as well as testing the ideal amount of weight to use.
After the regional event on Saturday, the national event will take place in D.C. from April 27 to May 1. The National Science Bowl has been held annually since 1991, and draws more than 14,000 middle school and high school student each year.