Som 100tífiks!!! (We are scientists)

Author: Mercedes Saludes

Science competition for 13 to 18 year-old students, created by Albert Caminal, Rosa Figuera and Mercedes Saludes.  INS Font del Ferro – Palafolls (Barcelona)

During these days of coronavirus lockdown, teaching physics and chemistry online has been hard for everybody: a lot of formulas and graphs, abstracts and difficult concepts to understand, just to name a few challenging situations.

Knowing my students love lab work, I decided to prepare experiments to do at home, in order to make their homework more attractive and to help to understand some key concepts. For this, we needed to create a lab classroom at home. So, I prepared a questionnaire to find out what materials students had available at home so these could be used as lab material. Then, I looked for videos and gathered different ideas about building objects or carrying experiments related to the topics we are working in class.

I talked to my colleagues about my intention in taking part in an experimentation video competition by levels. They also were very enthusiastic about the idea and we started to work.

We created a competition called “Som 100tífiks”. The title means “we are scientists”. I wanted to play with the main word to make the name more attractive. In 100tífiks “100” stands for the number “cien” in Spanish (very similar to the part of the word “scien”) and I replaced the final “c”  with a “k” in attempt to imitate our students casual writing style.

The competition consisted of creating a short, fun, creative and scientifically rigorous video about experiments that we have previously proposed. Students had to use recycled materials, buying new items was not allowed.

To help them organize themselves, we created a Google Classroom. There, they could find a number of different resources, such as tutorials, videos and notes related to the topic and it also worked as delivery and repository place.

To promote the video competition we designed a poster, published a post in the high school web and sent emails to all our students.

Keeping students engaged is not easy, we publish periodically different challenges. The good videos of each challenge will be awarded a scientist prize. Some of the challenges we have announced are: checking the PH of daily products with natural indicators, making different mobiles, calculate and compare their velocities and their kinetic energy, creating games to learn the periodic table or checking the wavelength of the microwave with a cheese slice, to name a few.

The competition started in early April and it is thought to continue up to the end of the lockdown period.

Below are some videos made by our students:

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