By Jenna Hayes – March 30, 2015
Palmer Holland recently hosted the third annual local You Be the Chemist (YBTC) Challenge for Cuyahoga County. The YBTC Challenge is a national academic contest for students in grades 5-8. The Challenge is sponsored by the Chemical Educational Foundation in order to promote STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) concepts. Volunteers across the country host local and state challenges in order to find contestants for the National Challenge held every spring in Philadelphia.
This is the third year that Palmer Holland has hosted the Cuyahoga County local YBTC Challenge. Where we started with just two schools (and only one student representing one of the schools), the Challenge has since doubled in size! This year we had student representatives from four different schools within the county.
Palmer Holland employees volunteered their time to solicit and coordinate with all participating schools; compile, distribute and grade the written qualifying exam; and coordinate all aspects of the local Challenge – an effort that started in the spring of 2014 and will begin again before school lets out for the summer so we can get a jump on 2016.
Students first took a written qualifying exam. The 24 students with the highest scores were then invited to participate in the live local challenge where they used “clickers” to record their answers in real time. From there, the top 6 students moved on to the State Challenge which is scheduled to take place on April 18 in Toledo, Ohio.
All in all, everyone involved, including PH staff, parents, students, and teachers, have found the YBTC Challenge to be a great way to get kids to take an interest in science and math. Despite having to “give up” one of my precious Saturday mornings, I look forward to the YBTC challenge every year. Hearing the kids cheer when they get a question right makes everyone in the room smile. They might not have great game faces, but they sure do seem to be having fun!
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