TOWSON, MD—Baltimore County Public Schools students demonstrated their science superpowers at the school system’s 2020 Superhero Science Fairs, held on Feb. 29 at Dulaney High School. The school was the site of the 32nd annual Physics Olympics and 7th annual Chemathon for high school students and a STEM Fair for middle school students.
Hereford High’s Team #2 earned first place in the Physics Olympics from among 28 teams from 13 high schools. The team from Dulaney High School came in second, and Eastern Tech’s Team #1 earned third place. The five Physics Olympics challenges included engineering an accurate projectile launcher from household materials; building a device to save a car (egg) from the rampaging Hulk; and using a combination of rubber bands to swing Spiderman (a billiard ball) into the bullseye of his target web.
The team from Towson High earned first place in the Chemathon from among seven teams from five high schools. The team from Perry Hall High came in second, and Dulaney High’s Team #2 earned third place. The five Chemathon challenges included creating a polymer ball from white glue and borax solution with the maximum bounce height; growing the largest, most nearly flawless and regular single alum crystal on a piece of Hero Red thread; and identifying 26 different elements from a set of clues.
In total, 175 students participated in the Physics Olympics and Chemathon.
Many of the Middle School STEM Fair challenges (for teams of up to five students each) were related to engineering design. Teams from 18 middle schools rotated through superhero-themed STEM challenges and makerspace activities. Teams received medals for meeting the success criteria for each challenge.
An additional award was given to the team whose performance on each challenge was the most exceptional. Twenty-seven students from five different high schools co-facilitated challenges and maker space activities and kept the middle school students engaged throughout the event.
STEM Fair challenges included applying knowledge of magnetic forces to design a system that can levitate three grams; designing a custom-made bow and arrow from household materials that can hit a target from at least three meters away; and constructing a trampoline from rubber bands and a plastic colander to help Wonder Woman leap over a tall building and hit two targets.