Thunk! That one surely broke. As the yellow yolk oozed onto the plastic tarp, the evidence became clear. Groans and some laughter from the middle school students followed. Next, a softer thump. The crowd was silent as Stephen ran over, picked up the package and tore open its protective wrappings. When he triumphantly held up the intact egg, the students erupted with cheers and applause. Science Day ended with a bang.
Science Day, held this year on February 24, was a day of engineering and science immersion for middle school students. They built cardboard bridges strong enough to hold the weights of visiting high school students, wrote code in different computer languages, and designed the aforementioned egg-cradling contraptions that withstood being dropped from the gymnasium rafters.
More than 60 high school students joined the fun for this year’s MS Science Day. AP chemistry and physics students ignited methane bubbles, froze flowers with liquid nitrogen, and showed how sound waves travel using fire. Members of the Environmental Club, Garden Club, and Cardboard Creations Club helped younger students learn about ecosystems and biodiversity through a deer simulation game, planted seeds, and made a bridge between tables with just cardboard and tape. Successful bridges spanned 30 inches between tables and actually supported the weight of a 9th grader!
We introduced an hour of computer coding into this year’s Science Day activities. Students meticulously wrote computer code and discovered just how careful they needed to be in order for their program to run. The Middle School’s Coding Club helped beginner coders, while more seasoned coders were challenged by a multitude of different computer languages. Based on the students’ reactions, the hour of coding was a winner and will return next year.
Student groups comprised of 6th, 7th, and 8th graders practiced their engineering skills through two design challenges: They first tried to make the tallest towers they could out of uncooked spaghetti, string, and tape. Winning groups produced pasta towers that stood over 60 centimeters tall! Their second challenge was to make a device that protected an egg dropped from the ceiling of the gymnasium. Math and science teacher Lida Salmani bravely ascended to the heights of the gym and dropped eggs nestled in their contraptions while the entire middle school cheered on each other’s successes.
Although it is fun and engaging, Science Day remains educational at its core. Middle school students became better engineers through collaboration, teamwork, and shared ideas. They learned fundamental scientific concepts taught and demonstrated by GDS high school students, and developed new skills as computer coders. Science Day is a great day to celebrate science and a great way to learn.