Science to the Rescue!
UPDATE: The contest registration deadline has been extended to June 14, 2015.
CUSD Middle School Students Tackling Tough Problems in Fourth Annual S^4-Super Summer Science Search™ Contest
Can science solve the community’s most pressing problems? We’re inviting all outgoing 6th, 7th and 8th graders living in the Cupertino Union School District (CUSD) to find out by entering our 2015 S^4-Super Summer Science Search™ Contest, a free community program entering its fourth year.
The contest features fun group study sessions and great prizes, while also offering a chance to develop skills in research and critical thinking. Students will gain valuable experience in using online databases through the Santa Clara County Library District, a great asset in high school and college.
Registration opens May 1 on the CLF website and closes June 14, 2015. Contest entries are due no later than 11:59 p.m. PDT, August 1, 2015.
All interested students and their parents are encouraged to attend a Public Information Meeting, 3-4 p.m., Saturday, April 25, at St. Jude’s Episcopal Church, 20920 McClellan Rd., Cupertino. Registration is encouraged; visit the Eventbrite page to sign up.
This year we’re inspiring students to formulate creative scientific solutions to problems or issues at the local, state, national or international level. Students are being asked to use one of three areas of study—engineering, biology or the humanities—in their projects. Students may enter the contest alone, or in a team of up to three people. Entries include a five-page report, a citation list, a journal, and a digital presentation.
“Our planning team of high school leaders created this prompt, because they wanted the students to take on real issues they see in their own community, or in the world at large,” said Bev Lenihan, foundation vice president and this year’s advisor to the S^4 program. “It’s a unique learning opportunity for the young students, to discover not only the importance of science, but also how the students’ themselves can develop potential solutions.”
Besides the experience, there are prizes: the first place team will receive iPad minis; second place receives $100 each; third place receives $50 each. All participants will receive a digital recognition letter, and up to 20 teams will receive certificates, and invitations to the celebration event in August.
Because last year’s contest attracted students who were interested in areas other than science, particularly music and the arts—and with the growing popularity of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) programs—the S^4 Task Force intentionally included the humanities in this year’s prompt.
“An exciting aspect last year was seeing students who might not usually be interested in science take part in the contest,” said Pam Marino, S^4 program manager. “We were encouraged by how the contest makes science come alive for these students. We saw entries connecting music, arts and sports to science, and one team even won third place for its report and video about how science is used to detect art forgeries.”
In sponsoring the contest, the CLF remains committed to its original commitment of supporting students in learning critical thinking skills around Common Core Standards, in partnership with the CUSD and the Cupertino Library.
“One of our goals at the Cupertino Library is to bring STEAM principles to life, building on state educational standards and introducing creative problem solving skills to today’s middle school students,” said Cupertino Community Librarian Gayathri Kanth. “The S^4 Contest is completely consistent with that goal, by not only encouraging critical thinking, but also introducing students to our robust online resources.”
The S^4 Contest remains free to the community thanks to a generous grant from the Peter Likhachev Family Foundation. Last year the foundation granted CLF $10,000; the amount was increased to $10,500 for 2015.
For more information, contact S^4 Program Manager Pam Marino at firstname.lastname@example.org.