Students from the Hudson County Science Fair in New Jersey are attending Intel ISEF 2013 as Observers with SSP Fellow, Marie Aloia. Below is their blog post about their experience on the fourth day of the event. Note: Post written by Abanoub Boules and Mina Henaen.
Today we attended Student Observer Day, which was no doubt our favorite day thus far in the week. What this day entailed was a variety of scientific activities that student observers engaged in. The goal of this day was to fuel the scientific interests of the observers and to possibly help them discover fields of study that they might consider pursuing. When we began this program, all the observers were split up into four separate teams: orange, green, pink, and blue. Although Abanoub was on the orange team and Mina was on the green team, we still participated in all of the activities of the day. The four major activities of Student Observer Day were the Science Relay/Science Stations, Forensic Science Challenge, When Invasives Attack, and Rube Goldberg. The different teams completed these activities in a different order.
In one activity, the Science Relay, we participated in three rounds, each made up of three science challenges. The team was split into groups and each group was required to complete all the challenges in all the rounds as quickly as possible. Abanoub greatly enjoyed the anatomy activity, in which a human body had to be assembled from plastic organs and bones. In another activity, the Science Stations, we crushed soda cans, made ice cream, extracted strawberry DNA, and made small motors. The Forensic Science Challenge was the most bizarre of the four activities. We investigated a murder mystery by analyzing fingerprints, footprints, blood splatters, DNA samples, and suspect records. The When Invasives Attack activity informed us of the increasing danger of mussels to bodies of water in the United States. We investigated samples of two bodies of water and watched for signs of mussel contamination. Lastly, the Rube Goldberg activity split the team into smaller groups that were each given an hour to create a machine. Mina used tubes, tape, pins, golf balls, and plastic rolls in his machine to get a single balloon to pop. Abanoub designed a machine with similar function, but instead used a hammer and a slingshot to pop the balloon.
The final activity of the day was the Student Mixer which lasted from 7 to 10pm. Dinner, snacks, drinks, and ice cream were served. Many students danced to DJ Quantum in the extremely large North Hall. The lights were flickering on and off in such a way that many students went to North Hall simply to observe the light show going on. Other students were playing a variety of games, including table tennis, chess, video games, and air hockey. This was an occasion where we were also able to meet many new international friends. The day was filled with laughter, excitement, and disbelief that it was already Wednesday!