volunteers—takes inspiration from real-world situations when designing each year’s program. “Every fall, we reach out to APEGA member volunteers for help developing the challenges for the next APEGA Science Olympics,” says Keely McPhee, an APEGA outreach coordinator. “Often, we take cues from the geoscience and engineering scenarios that have challenged and inspired them.” For example, in May 2016, devasting wildfires swept through the town of Fort McMurray, forcing the largest wildfire evacuation in Alberta’s history. At the APEGA Science Olympics in 2019, one of the challenges asked the students to create a woodland community and design a device to effectively deliver a fire suppressant (in this case, a cup of popcorn) to protect their community from a wildfire. The fire suppresent needed to be delivered from above. But they were also asked to design a community layout that would contribute to greater fire safety. If homes were placed too close together, the fire would travel quickly and be more difficult to get under control. By separating their communities’ buildings with roads and bodies of water, students learned that they could create strategic fire blocks. Working through problems like these gives students a holistic viewpoint of how to approach a complex problem with multiple possible outcomes. What are some of the other challenges we’ve incorporated into APEGA Science Olympics? • Based on the events of a July 2018 Thailand rescue, student teams design and build a device that operates underwater to transport supplies (in this case, ping pong balls) through a complicated cave system. The caves are very dark, so the design must include waterproof lighting. • Save our oceans! An island of floating garbage has formed in the Pacific Ocean that needs to be cleaned up. Students must design and build a mechanism to bring items from this garbage island to shore, without them floating away in strong ocean currents. • The year is 2030 and the world is experiencing severe climate changes, including flooding and lack of power. Students must use existing technology to develop a wind-powered device that helps people generate power and pump water from their homes.
With help from member volunteers, we make every effort to make sure students and teachers who participate every year don’t see repeat challenges. Each year is a new opportunity for innovation and improvement, and in 2020—APEGA’s centennial year— exciting initiatives will be added to the Calgary and Edmonton events. • Augmented reality shirts. This has been piloted the last couple of years, but we’re hoping to take it to the next level in 2020. If attendees download the app, they can point their devices at APEGA shirts worn by students, judges, and volunteers—to reveal futuristic and interactive surprises. • Exhibitor booths. To encourage more spectators to attend, we hope to expand our exhibitor booths and other activities outside the actual competition area. Check out the APEGA Science Olympics in Edmonton (February 22, University of Alberta Pavilion) and Calgary (May 9, University of Calgary Olympic Oval) to find out.
WANT TO PARTICIPATE? There are many ways to participate in the APEGA Science Olympics. We hold science olympics events in cities all across the province, so be sure to check out the link below for a regional event near you. Register a team. If you are an educator (or parent of a student), you can register a team of three-to- five students and one coach. Our largest events are in Edmonton and Calgary, but APEGA Science Olympics are hosted all over Alberta. Visit our science Olympics landing page (link below) for more information on dates and location. Register for Edmonton by December 31, 2019 , and Calgary by January 12, 2020 . Volunteer as a challenge manager or event staff. Do you have experience in outreach, education, or science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) fields? APEGA members and non-members, including university students, are encouraged to volunteer and see what all the fuss is about! Visit our volunteering landing page (link below) to find out more. Sponsor the APEGA Science Olympics. We’re looking for great sponsors to support these events. To make 2020 as awesome as possible, we’ll be adding extra opportunities as event dates draw nearer. If your organization wants to get involved by sponsoring the APEGA Science Olympics, there could be a fit for you! Please email Felicia Dewar, Marketing & Sponsorships Manager, at Felicia.Dewar@apega.ca. She’ll look at tailoring a package especially for you.
WILDFIRE BATTLERS Students from Vernon Barford Junior High School ponder their city-building strategies during the wildfire challenge at the APEGA Science Olympics in Edmonton, last April.
APEGA Science Olympics More About APEGA Outreach Programs
COOL TROPHIES Successful teams are awarded the grandest of prize trophies—LEGO goblets in gold, silver, and bronze.
How to Volunteer More About Serving the Professions Through Volunteering
48 | PEG WINTER 2019
WINTER 2019 PEG | 49
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