Terri-Jane Yuzda

Provincial Challenge
Bolsters Science and Creativity

APEGGA Public Relations Coordinator

APEGGA's annual Provincial Challenge celebrates the art of science and encourages students' confidence in solving scientific problems -- increasing their interest in science and building important critical thinking skills. The competition encourages students to practice the concepts learned at school, as well as provide recognition of achievement in science education by both students and teachers.

Held in Calgary during National Engineering Week, March 2-10, this year's Provincial Challenge had 250 students from communities throughout Alberta competing for more than $1,800. Prize money, awarded to first-, second- and third-place winners in each division, may go towards school materials and field trips for the winning schools.

Using limited materials, the various challenges encourage students to think creatively. The project concepts are based on physics and structural and material engineering principles. Events differ for each division and change every year.

Competition was intense in the grades 1-3 division, where students battled in the Testy Towers contest. The goal was to build the tallest tower. Participants made sketches of a variety of possible tower designs. Then, choosing one diagram, they built the highest possible tower using drinking straws and tape.

Students in the grades 4-6 division participated in the Going Geodesic Challenge. Contestants had 60 minutes to construct the strongest self-supporting dome. First, contestants had to predict the number of magazines their dome would successfully support. The dome could be composed of newspapers, tape and staples.

In the grades 7-9 division participants built bridges out of pasta. The challenge was to construct an operational, freestanding bridge, made out of just pasta and glue. The bridge had to span a distance of at least 50 centimetres and have a solid flat road surface at its midpoint, with a length of at least 15 cm and a width no greater than 20 cm. The load had to be applied to the flat surface at the middle of the bridge. Contestants had to predict the weight their bridge would successfully hold. The bridge with the greatest predicted "operational value" that successfully met its prediction was declared the winner.

Wits and wisdom were put to the test in grades 10-12 during the Victor Vehicle Race. Contestants built a vehicle powered solely by the energy of one standard-sized mousetrap. The vehicle with the greatest predicted distance that successfully met this value was declared the winner.

It was a great pleasure to receive the entries for the APEGGA National Engineering Week Provincial Challenge. APEGGA congratulates all of the contestants for their dedication to scientific pursuits and for taking the time and effort to enter the contest. The competition was intense.

National Engineering Week is an annual opportunity to increase public awareness and appreciation of the engineering profession and of technology. Thousands of engineers, engineering students, teachers, and leaders in government and business participate each year.

APEGGA, along with other Canadian provincial and territorial associations, hosted more than 500 events and activities to help elementary, junior and senior high school students discover the exciting world of science. APEGGA has consistently played an important role as a major sponsor and organizer of engineering week activities in Alberta. Through events such as the Provincial Challenge, APEGGA has sought to raise the profile of its professional members and highlight their accomplishments.

Check here for APEGGA's National Engineering Week website.

The 2001-2002 Provincial Challenge Winners are:

Testy Towers
First place: Percy Pegler Elementary School, Okotoks: Sean Badun, Tanner Ryerson.
Second place: Percy Pegler Elementary School: Ryan Ferguson, Gavin Noble.
Third place: Ecole Oriole Park School, Red Deer.

Going Geodesic
First place: Ecole Coloniale Estates, Beaumont: Rebecca Mugford, Sabrina Nault, Scott Sych, Callahan Weller.
Second place: Jean Baptiste Sewepagaham School, Ft. Vermilion: Richard Ribbonleg, Larrisha Ribbonleg, Dave Ribbonleg, Marvella Blesse.
Third place: St. Benedict School, Edmonton: Alyssa DeGraff, Lisa Wilcox, Madison Keller.

Pasta Bridge
First place: Ecole Coloniale Estates: Marc Labossiere, Matt Halmstrom, Liam, Gould, JR Friday.
Second place: Jean Baptiste Sewepagaham School: Shannon Tallcree, Michelle Noskiye, Wanda Nanooch.
Third place: Jean Baptiste Sewepagaham School: Cody Seeseequon, Jacob Noskiye, Bronson Laboucan.

Vehicle Race
First place: Jean Baptiste Sewepagaham School: Colinda St. Arnault, Dale Loonskin, Marcel Laboucan.
Second place: Beaumont Composite High School: Crystal Cornelius.
Third place: Grand Centre High School, Cold Lake: Brett Bodeux, Ian Wellwood.

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