As I entered building 335 on the Webster campus on Tuesday morning, I could tell that today was not a normal day at Xerox. The cafeteria and the conference rooms were filled with sounds of chatter and excitement as 140 elementary students from 15 different schools in and around the city of Rochester, prepared for the Xerox Science Challenge Day.
The Xerox Science Challenge Day is an annual event organized by the Xerox Science Consultant Program. The program challenges local elementary students to participate and compete in one of two primary events, The Invention Convention and The Engineering Structures Competition.
The Invention Convention allows students in grades 3 through 6 to display and present their inventions to challenge day attendees, other participants, and a team of judges. Each inventor is required to display their invention and give a short presentation. The inventions and inventors are judged based on a series of criterion including creativity, marketability, communication and salesmanship, use of resources, use of the invention process, enthusiasm, quality of display, and design and construction.
The Engineering Structures Competition involves students in the creation of structures using basic concepts of engineering. The students are challenged to create strong structures using the smallest possible amount of materials (straws and paperclips). Results are determined by piling an increasing number of weights onto the structures until they finally collapse. Each structure receives a score based on the amount of material used and the amount of weight the structure can hold.
Matthew, a 5th grade student from school #16 in the city of Rochester described the structure building process. “We spent a few days during science class building and testing our structures. You see, you want to build a structure with the least amount of straws and paperclips that will hold the most weight. I was able to build and test 3 different structures in class before coming up with this structure.” Matthew went on to say that the competition was not about winning but having fun with science. “This has been the coolest thing we’ve done in science class so far this year, other then dissecting frogs.”
Winners from both competitions were announced in a short ceremony at the end of the event.
To learn more about Xerox Science Challenge Day and the Xerox Science Consultation Program contact Mike Long at firstname.lastname@example.org
Article and photos by Katie Monroe, RACCEMS Graduate Student.