FIU hosted more than two dozen high school teams who came together to test their knowledge of math and science. For the second year in a row, the competition ended with an “overtime” round.
It all came down to this: “Assuming the specific heat of aluminum is 0.9 Joules per gram per degree, how much energy, in kilojoules rounded to the first decimal place, must be added to 500 grams of aluminum to raise its temperature from 10 degrees Centigrade to 70 degrees Centigrade?” (You’ll find the answer at the end of this post.)
Well, it didn’t come down to that exact question — the one above is a sample question provided by event organizers — but you get the idea. After a full day of grueling competition in which more than 100 high schoolers went head-to-head answering mind-bending questions in math- and science-related categories, American Heritage School Team B from Plantation prevailed to win the South Florida Regional Science Bowl. The team now advances to the national 2011 Science Bowl competition in Washington, D.C., in April.
Teams from Cypress Bay High School in Weston placed second and third.
The event featured a fast-paced, question-and-answer format of round-robin competition followed by double elimination rounds. Teams comprised of four students (with an alternate ready to jump in at any time) battled in a race to the buzzer. Each team had students answering questions in six categories — biology, physics, earth and space, energy, chemistry and mathematics.
The tournament hosted by FIU is part of the Department of Energy’s 2011 National Science Bowl competition. Additional sponsors included NASA WaterSCAPES University Research Center at FIU, Southeast Environmental Research Center, and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. FIU’s Milagros Chavez and Juan Rodriguez were the event coordinators. Approximately 50 trained volunteers, all FIU students, acted as moderators, judges, timekeepers and scorekeepers.
DOE launched the National Science Bowl competition in 1991 to encourage high school students to excel in science and math and to pursue careers in those fields. The National Science Bowl’s high school competition now involves approximately 9,000 students. FIU hosts the tournament as part of its outreach efforts to attract more students who are interested in pursuing STEM-related careers.
American Heritage’s winning team beat out area schools including MAST Academy, Ronald Reagan Doral Senior High School, Ft. Lauderdale High School, Miami Palmetto High School and Seminole Ridge Community High School, among others. Winning team members, under the direction of coach Osmel Rodriguez, were Aaron Brookner, Michael Deng, Matthew Glover, Joshua Ingram and Tyler Webner.
(Here is the answer to the question posed at the beginning of the article: 27 kilojoules. Solution: Q= .5 x .9 x 60 = 27 kilojoules.)