Science Survivor Series (S3) Competition
Science Survivor Series is an annual event held for 3rd, 4th and 5th graders from all 15 GPISD elementary school campuses. These students work as campus teams to compete in a series of challenges in three problem solving categories: academic event, building event and creativity event. Members of each school’s team work together to compete against other teams for points in each of the three categories. In the “Academic Event “ category students are given 5 minutes to draw as many of the pre-created list of 21 science vocabulary words as possible. Points given for # of correct answers. In the “Building Event” category, one student is given 10 minutes to write an accurate description of a pre-built contraption. This student’s written description will be used by a second team member whose task is to reconstruct the contraption using only the written description. In the “Creativity Event” category, teams are to build a structure or contraption that meets specific requirements detailed in the particular problem provided to the teams.
The S3 competition has been held for three years. Each year 90-100 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students get the opportunity to work as a team, problem solve, use critical thinking skills, and engineering skills. Although the competition is a one day event, students prepare for weeks with their campus coaches prior to the big event. For their hard work and determination, all students receive a certificate for participation as well as coupons and goodies from local area businesses. In addition, team trophies are awarded to 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners.
The purpose of GPISD’s robotics program, Ecobot, is to enrich students’ lives by exposing them to the world of robotics through math and science. Ecobot provides students with opportunities to explore complex problem solving and critical thinking skills. Students work with their campus teams weekly to build robots that complete specific tasks designed to solve real-world problems.
Teams are comprised of 4 to 6 students in grades 3rd-5th. Schools may have as many teams as they wish. Thus far, 7 of our 15 campuses participate in Ecobot with a total of approximately 100 students. Coaches serve as mentors and facilitators of students. Teams have an opportunity to participate in our district “Kick-Off” day, “Build-It” days and the district Ecobot Showcase held towards the end of the year. Teams often meet weekly on their campuses, during the school day, before school or afterschool. On our big showcase day, teams present their robots and demonstrate the real-world problem they solved as well as the research completed for the task. GPISD has held the Ecobot Showcase for three years. For all of their hard work, students receive participation certificates as well as coupons and goodies from local community partners. A trophy is awarded to the campus with the best overall presentation.
Our district robotics program is in alignment with the All-Earth Ecobot Challenge which is an elementary robotics competition open to all 5th through 8th grade students in the Harris County area. However, the purpose of our program is not competition it is focused on learning and exploration. Student groups may choose to participate in the All-Earth Ecobot Challenge. Ecobot inspires young people to be science and technology leaders by engaging them in an exciting mentor–based program that builds science, engineering, and technology skills, inspires innovation, and fosters well–rounded life capabilities including higher-order thinking, self–confidence, communication, and leadership. Through research and investigation, students advance their confidence in solving real-world problems.