More than 40 Chautauqua County high school students participated in the third annual Science Bowl at the State University of New York at Fredonia in October, engaging in a series of hands-on experiments under the guidance of science faculty and competing head-to-head in quiz-bowl 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 each rotated between different lab spaces in the Science Center and Houghton Hall to conduct individual experiments led by Department of Biology faculty including Professor William Brown and Associate Professor of Exercise Science Todd Backes; Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry faculty including Associate Professor Mark Janik and Associate Professor Allan Jay Cardenas, and Department of Geology and Environmental Sciences Associate Professor Thomas Hegna.
Everyone then convened in the Science Center’s Kelly Family Auditorium for the quiz portion of the event to assess the students’ general knowledge of natural science using a program developed by Drs. Brown and Cardenas on the game-based learning platform Kahoots!
“In this interactive online program, students use their phones to scan the QR code and then log in their team name. The questions pop up on the overhead screen and also on their phones,” explained Office of Admissions Assistant Director Kate Huff.
“It’s a really exciting portion of the Science Bowl because they get to see, in real time, how they’re ranking (in the competition), and see getting credit for the correct answers. These are also timed responses, so if they answer correctly and are the first ones, they get more points,” Huff explained.
“That’s where it gets competitive, and perhaps a little rowdy, but in a positive way. They can see how they’re doing scoring-wise,” Huff added.
For the second year in a row, the Frewsburg team won the competition, so the trophy and bragging rights return to the Den of the Bears.
The four Frewsburg students were rewarded with SUNY Fredonia swag that included t-shirts and bookstore gift cards, among other items. SUNY Fredonia merchandise was given to all participating students.
Following the competition, students were treated to lunch at Cranston Marche, courtesy of the Office of Admissions.
Several current SUNY Fredonia science students and tour guides served as volunteers, assisting science faculty, at the event that was held during SUNY Fredonia’s fall break, Huff noted.
She described these volunteers as “the meat-and-potatoes of the competition” for their valuable assistance, and added, “This is another example of Fredonia faculty and students going above and beyond.”
Now in its third year, SUNY Fredonia’s Science Bowl is gaining traction, so organizers look forward to adding more schools, Huff noted.
Organizers recognize that availability of buses can be a critical factor that can make it challenging for some schools to participate.
“Growing it to 80 to 100 participants is what we’d like to see,” Huff added, by opening up the Science Bowl to Erie County (NY) schools as well as the city of Buffalo, along with Orchard Park and Hamburg area schools.