Home for Midland K-12
Midland Adventist Academy made its first trip to Southwestern Adventist University's biennial "Brain Games" science and math competition on January 21 - 23, and found a formula for success.
This year's competition had the theme "Outbreak," and consisted of a simulated public health emergency about which students had to gather clues, analyze data, and draw conclusions. Fourteen SDA academies from all over the United States participated.
Jason Donovan, MAA science teacher, served as sponsor for the trip and assisted the students who worked as public health investigators attempting to define what the germ was, where it came from, how it spread, and how to stop it.
Team member Shelby Seibold said she was drawn in by the process of gathering data and working as a group to figure out how to stop the spread of the imaginary Salmonella pandemic. Team members put raw data into spreadsheets and modeled it as graphs and charts to spot trends and determine the outbreak's severity. Combined with the first-person interviews and lab reports, "It was almost like playing the game 'Clue,'" said Seibold.
When the awards were presented on the final day, three teams tied for a second-place finish. However, based on a multi-part scoring system that included extra points for writing a press release, judges cited MAA as the clear-cut winner for first place and awarded each team member a $1,000 scholarship.
“It was a great learning experience,” said competition participant Sarah Whitson. "I felt we were doing a good job analyzing the data, but with 14 schools in the competition I wasn't sure if we would win.”
Robby Willer summarized the weekend by saying, "It was truly a unique experience and it's very rewarding to know we were able to win money and publicity for our school!"
“As a science teacher, I am pleased to see students applying classroom theory to real-life problem solving,” said Jason Donovan. “An event like this helps students realize that science can be both challenging and fun. At the same time, they can see how their God-given talents can be applied to careers in many scientific fields.”
(thanks to Jason and Melanie Donovan for being the sponsors and providing the pictures)