Area high school students had the chance to experience Jamestown Community College's new Science Center and participate in science-related competition at the same time.
On Wednesday, science students from Pine Valley and Sherman high schools came together at JCC to compete in The Amazing Science Race. The race was set up similar to CBS's The Amazing Race, with students working together to complete tasks throughout the campus.
The event was open to all high school students in the area. Reservations were required, as JCC could only accommodate the first 60 students. Schools were asked to provide one chaperone for every 12 students.
Abby Kuhn and Allyssa Winiecke, both from Sherman Central School, work together on a chemistry lab to make “glorp.”
P-J photo by Liz Skoczylas
Once at the college, students were divided into 9 teams, and split up to ensure that the schools and grade levels were mixed together.
"They had to structure themselves as teams," said Nelson Garifi, executive director of marketing at JCC.
He added that students were encouraged to demonstrate leadership, work with people that they had never met before, and establish team names.
After learning the rules of the race, students received clues to their first challenge. Armed with maps, they made their way throughout campus to accomplish tasks, such as holding Rosie the tarantula, identifying different areas of a sheep's heart, identifying conifer trees, getting their blood pressure and eyes checked, setting a campus schedule and identifying genetic traits. Upon completing each task, students received clues to the next.
"I like all the different activities. But I definitely did not like the snake or the spider," said Allyssa Winiecke, who is a freshmen at Sherman.
Lunch was included in the race, where students learned the importance of eating more sustainably. They learned terms such as locavore, organic, upcycling and composting.
Kurt Carlson, of Planet Earth Catering, gave a brief presentation to the students before they ate. He said that everything about the meal could be recycled or composted, from the boxes that they came in, which were made from recycled newspaper, to the actual food, which was added to compost.
According to Jade Barber, associate director of student recruitment, science faculty knew that they wanted to do something to showcase the new Science Center. By mid-September, they were meeting to discuss the event. Each faculty member was asked to design an activity that would take roughly 20 minutes for teams to complete.
"The kids are really into it. They took the race concept and embraced it," Mrs. Barber said.
She added that the goal of the event was to spark the interest of the high school students, and encourage them to look at how science is fun, as well as looking at all different aspects of science and related careers.
Team scores were tabulated while students took a tour of the campus, which was provided by JCC's student ambassadors.
The winning team was STEM Synergy, which consisted of Emily Scott, Allen Gage, Ashley Carpenter, and Alicia DeLand from Pine Valley and Ryan Carpenter and Haley Reslink from Sherman. For winning, they received JCC science T-shirts.
There is another science day being planned for this coming spring. The activities will be aimed at middle school students.