It was a race against time.
But in this race student’s didn’t need their running shoes. Instead they needed their sharp wit and problem solving skills.
Students comprised of 38 teams from five secondary schools competed in a variety of science-related challenges at Nipissing University Friday.
“It’s great to have an event that is all about academics,” said Sam McKinley, a Grade 10 student at St. Joseph Scollard Hall.
“We get a chance to nerd-out, and just to let you know being a nerd is a good thing.”
Sam said one of the coolest challenges was identifying mammal hair.
She said it was a chance to get an up close look at the texture and scales.
“It was so cool,” Sam said. “And the best part is that we were able to complete the challenge with five minutes to spare.”
Larissa Puls, staff scientist for Science North said Science Olympics is a good opportunity for students with a particular interest in science, especially older students to test their skills and challenge themselves.
“There’s not a lot of science activities for senior students, as well, they have a chance to work with some pretty cool materials,” she said.
Puls said Science Olympics is being held in six different Northern Ontario communities. A portion of the funding to support the program has come from the Ministry of Education.
Some of the challenges students faced included learning how circuits work and mixing colours, identifying mammal fur and neumanics where students are tested on their bridge making talents.
Sam Pauley and Jevin Ronholm, students at Almaguin Highlands Secondary School aced their first challenge.
Students were required to build a machine that could grab a ping-pong ball, lift the ball, and then carry it over a barrier.
The twist was students had a budget of $500 to purchase the parts needed to do the challenge.
No money was exchanged, however students couldn’t spend more than the allocated amount.
Jevin said the event was fun and challenging.
“Competition and science are two things I love,” he said.
Jackson Hyatt, a Grade 9 student at SJSH, said the day of competition isn’t just good for the brain.
“It’s also a chance for shy guys to make new friends,” he added.
The event was part of the first annual North Bay Science Festival, which wraps-up Saturday.
The public is invited to the Nipissing gymnasium between 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. to visit a number of exhibitors who will provide hands-on activities, special appearances including live exotic animals.