BJHS Science Challenge intros the field to youngsters

MADISON – Who says that today’s youth isn’t interested in math and science?

The BJHS Science Challenge attracted more than 100 young people to spend their Saturday morning in activities to gauge their aptitude in biology, physics, chemistry and other contests.

Juniors Neha Chopade and Puja Chopade led Bob Jones High School’s Science Academy and were assisted by fellow Bob Jones and James Clemens high schools’ student volunteers to successfully host the BJHS Science Challenge event on April 2 at Bob Jones.

The event was a fun way to introduce accelerated science to a large number of elementary school students, expanding the opportunities created by Bob Jones Science Academy program to young students across the district, Neha Chopade said.

The day started off with a 45-minute, multiple-choice science test, followed by fun labs and activities:

* Rotational Motion Races — Testing student-built designs for slowest and fastest model rolling down an incline.

* Stethoscope Lab – Learning how to listen to a heartbeat with a stethoscope and doppler and take blood pressure.

* Microscope Lab — Learning to adjust objective lenses with coarse and fine focus while viewing a wide variety of specimens from the human body, as well as from pigs, mice, cats, frogs and more.

* HudsonAlpha Lab – Extracting strawberry DNA. HudsonAlpha Educational Outreach program provided 50 kits.

* Elemental Egg Hunt — Students hunted for hidden Easter eggs and identified the element that goes with the atomic number found in the egg.

* Chemistry Cake Walk — Students walked around a circle of elements. If the Periodic Table song stopped on their element, the student won a cupcake.

“The entire event was free for all participants and generously sponsored by i3 Cares, a community outreach and charitable organization of i3 corps,” Puja Chopade said. “The students received free lunch and snacks. Several parents also donated to the program.”

i3 Cares not only sponsored the event but also had a team of volunteers helping out with each lab and activity. Chris Lindsey is the (STEM) Science Ambassador with i3 Cares. Chris Lindsey and Eugene Zotamou helped student volunteers at the Rotational Motion Races.

Pam Hailey and Cory Wales helped at the Stethoscope Lab. Matt Mueller assisted at the Microscope Lab, partnered with Bob Jones Science Bowl Co-Coach Shubham Chopade.

Daniel Downs and Jennifer Downs volunteered with the Chemistry Cake Walk. Beena Chopade helped at HudsonAlpha Lab and Microscope Lab.

Kathryn Teare, teacher sponsor of Bob Jones Science Academy, helped with the logistics throughout the event. “She was very generous to offer her microscopes and stethoscopes for use in the labs,” Neha Chopade said.

Students received prizes, including plushies and large candy bars for the Poster Contest and Cartoon Contest.

“Several awards were also given to the top-placing students in third, fourth and fifth grades that included plushies, trophies, T-shirts, medals, certificates and other items. The top 15 third- and fourth-grade students also received invites into the Science Academy program for the 2022-2023 school year,” Puja Chopade said.

Neha and Puja Chopade, who organized the event, thanked the i3 Cares team for their generous sponsorship, as well as their volunteer support.

At the awards, Chris Lindsey of i3 Cares inspired all the students –the ones that placed and those that did not — by saying “Failure is not your Enemy” and “If you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go TOGETHER.”

The i3 Cares volunteers also helped expose each student to the wonders of the science world at an individual level. A girl at the Stethoscope Lab could not find Pam Hailey’s pulse; the girl even advised Hailey to “eat a banana every day!”

The parents were thankful for the opportunity to have their students experience such a trailblazing and free science event in Madison — all organized and conducted by high school students passionate about extending their passions for science to younger students.

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