More than 40 Chautauqua County high school students participated in the third annual Science Bowl at SUNY Fredonia in October, where they participated in a series of hands-on experiments under the supervision of science faculty and competed head-to-head in a bowl competition style to test their knowledge .
Teams of students — mostly seniors, along with some juniors enrolled in advanced science courses — from Frewsburg Central School, Sherman Central School and Chautauqua Lake Central School participated in the event.
Teams of four students rotated between different laboratory spaces in the Science Center and Houghton Hall to conduct individual experiments led by Biology Department faculty including Professor William Brown and Associate Professor of Exercise Science Todd Backes; Faculty in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, including Associate Professor Mark Janek, Associate Professor Alan J. Cardenas, and Department of Geology and Environmental Sciences Associate Professor Thomas Hygna.
Next, everyone in the Science Center’s Kelly Family Room agreed to the quiz portion of the event to assess students’ general knowledge of the natural sciences using software developed by Drs. Brown and Cardenas on the game-based learning platform Kahoots!
“In this interactive online programme, students use their phones to scan a QR code and then log in with their team name. Questions appear on the top screen and on their phones as well. Office Assistant Director of Admissions Kate Huff explained.
“It’s a really exciting part of the Science Bowl because they can see how they rank (in the competition) in real time, and see they get praise for the correct answers. These are also timed answers, so if they answer correctly and are first, they get more points.” Hoff explained.
“This is where things get competitive, maybe a little rowdy, but in a positive way. They can see how they score goals.” Hof added.
For the second year in a row, Frosburg won the tournament, bringing the trophy and bragging rights back to the Bears’ Den.
The four Frosburg students were rewarded with SUNY Fredonia gifts that included T-shirts and library gift cards, among other items. SUNY Fredonia merchandise was delivered to all participating students.
After the competition, students had lunch at Cranston Marquee, provided by the Admissions Office.
Huff noted that several current SUNY Fredonia science students and tour guides served as volunteers, and assisted science faculty, at the event, which was held during SUNY Fredonia’s fall break.
She described these volunteers as: “The meat and potatoes of competition” For their valuable assistance, he added, “This is another example of Fredonia’s faculty and students being extremely successful.”
SUNY Fredonia’s Science Bowl, now in its third year, is gaining traction, so organizers are looking to add more schools, Huff noted.
Organizers recognize that bus availability can be a deciding factor that may make it difficult for some schools to participate.
“Increasing the number of participants to 80 to 100 is what we would like to see.” By opening the Science Bowl to Erie County (New York) schools as well as the city of Buffalo, along with Orchard Park and Hamburg area schools, Hoff added.