Oakland, California (EastBayDaily) — Late last week, CK-12 Foundation announced the winners of its inaugural “Get Real” Competition, a contest meant to “stimulate creativity and critical thinking” in students. Six middle school students from Leadership Public Schools College Park in Oakland, CA, brought home the grand prize: their choice of up to 25 Apple iPads, Google Chromebooks, or Amazon Kindle Fires for their school. After totaling public votes and the scores given by a panel of independent judges from three major universities, LPS Oakland’s project, “The Hydrogen Peroxide Rocket Belt!” investigating the role of catalysts in real world applications, was selected as the grand prize winner.
“The idea was planned with our weekly Geek Squad meetings here at school,” Christian, the president of the technology-focused student group, stated. “With the ideas of all of our Geek Squad, we finally got the idea of doing a catalyst with elephant’s toothpaste. Something that we could relate to the real world. Going through the process, it was very rigorous. It was very stressful. We were so close from dropping the whole thing cause we thought we weren’t going to finish on time. But we put so much dedication toward it. All of our members worked so hard that we got here.”
Neeru Khosla, Co-founder and Executive Director of CK-12 Foundation, stated “‘Get Real’ is an opportunity for students to really engage with their studies and to show off just how well they understand what they’re learning in the classroom by showing how it applies outside the classroom.”
The competition challenged teacher-sponsored student groups to develop and submit demonstrations of how a mathematical or scientific concept from CK-12’s concept collections applies to a real world phenomenon. CK-12’s competition page states, “Real world applications can make a difference in the way we learn and teach and understand our world.” Submissions in the form of powerpoint, text, or video were judged based on their relevance to the concept, impact, creativity, and clarity.
Khosla stated, “Seeing the excitement of these young, ambitious students really demonstrates their intrinsic yearning to be a part of science and math and to contextualize just how their education impacts their daily lives. Plus the collaborative learning is getting them ready for the real world”
The second place entry came from a group of eight middle and high school students from the University School of Colorado Springs who traveled all the way to Utah to demonstrate the physics of canyoneering. They used demonstrations of the “Deadman” anchor, 3:1 Z-Rigs, and guided rappelling to analyze the forces involved in canyoneering. The third prize went to four 6th grade girls from Mirror Lake Middle School in Chugiak, Alaska, for their project “Sampling Alaskan Chickadees.” Working with a biologist from USGS, they learned about important scientific principles in field research while investigating beak deformities in Alaskan Chickadees.
“The enthusiasm and effort put in by all the students who submitted for the contest shows that students need an outlet for expressing their understanding,” says Khosla. “And that’s why we will be running the competition again in the fall.”
For those interested in participating in future contests, Christian offered this bit of advice, “Don’t give up. If you feel like you won’t achieve it, you will achieve it. If you put so much hard work and dedication into your work, you will do it.”
Click here to watch a video of the winners' reactions.
About CK-12 Foundation CK-12 Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing access to high-quality educational materials for K-12 students all over the world. CK-12 offers free high-quality, standards-aligned, open content in the STEM subjects through an integrated set of tools for learning: digital textbooks, concept-based learning resources, SAT preparation, and an interactive Algebra curriculum (with additional math and science subjects in progress). All products can be customized to match the needs of the student, educator, or school. By providing these free resources, CK-12 is working toward educational equity for all.
Contact Information Joshua Khani Partner Relations Associate joshua [dot] khani [at] ck12 [dot] org