Educator & Parent FAQs
The following list of questions are frequently asked about the Let’s Talk Science Challenge:
- Who should participate?
- How is it organized?
- How do students prepare?
- How do I pick a team?
- How do I register a team?
- What are my obligations?
Q. Who should participate in the Let’s Talk Science Challenge?
A. The competition is open to all students in Grades 6, 7 and 8. This science enrichment event is both fun and challenging! We’ve found it appeals to both science enthusiasts and students who may not have previously expressed an interest in science. There is no charge to participate, so everyone can join in!
For students, participation in the Let’s Talk Science Challenge supports the development of positive attitudes towards science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), which leads to sustained interest in these areas in high school. Through study groups and team collaboration, cooperative learning happens and problem-solving skills are developed – all important to STEM. At a time when students are on the cusp of making important decisions about their high school course choices, participation in the Let’s Talk Science Challenge gives them a unique, positive experience with science and technology.
Q. How is the Let’s Talk Science Challenge organized?
A. Let’s Talk Science Outreach volunteers at universities and colleges across Canada lead each Challenge event. Teams of two to four students travel to a local university or college campus to face off against teams from their own school and schools nearby. The day includes a judged design challenge and a game show style Q&A competition where teams answer STEM-related questions in a timed environment. To determine the Let’s Talk Science Challenge Champions, the scores from both the Q&A and design challenge competitions are tallied. Medals are awarded for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place teams and for team spirit.
Q. How do students prepare for the Let’s Talk Science Challenge?
A. To prepare for the competition, students study from the Let’s Talk Science Challenge Handbook for the weeks and months preceding competition day. The Handbook touches on Biology, Chemistry, Earth Sciences, Engineering & Technology, Environmental Sciences, Math, Physics and Space Sciences – some topics relevant to what they are learning in school now, while others give them a sneak peak of what they will learn in years to come.
Students will compete as a team for the whole event. Some teams will divide up the chapters of the Handbook so each member will be responsible for the content of 2-3 chapters instead of the whole handbook. Remember, questions will be presented in a short answer format. There are online quizzes (which become available in February each year) to test how the students are doing.
Each chapter has a design challenge. Practising these challenges will help the students develop team work through collaborating, designing, building and testing. The design challenge on the event day will not be a challenge selected from the Handbook.
Q. How do I pick a team?
A. There are a number of ways to determine who will come to campus on the day of the challenge. You can decide which is best for you and your students. Some suggestions are:
- Use the Handbook as part of your daily teaching resource. The activities can be done by the whole class. Some teachers hold a mini-challenge at their school and bring their top 3-4 teams to compete on campus.
- Present the idea to the whole class. Many students will want to be part of the team and will study hard to be a top contender.
- Students (especially those who have participated in the past) will form their own teams, organize their study groups and prepare themselves for the challenge.
Q. How do I register a team?
A. Registration will open in November or December each year. Those teachers or parents wishing to register a team should go to the Let’s Talk Science Challenge Registration page and make an account. Once you are logged in, choose the location where your team(s) will participate and then register a team to hold that spot. Team names and student names may be entered at a later date.
Q. What are my obligations for participating the Challenge?
A. All students participating in the Let’s Talk Science Challenge must have Consent Forms for Challenge Participants filled out and signed. We encourage applications to be submitted to the Let’s Talk Science National Office in the first week in April, but no later than two weeks before the event. The Interest in Science among Youth survey is completely optional, however we appreciate your input!
- A teacher or chaperone must accompany the students for the event. The students are not the responsibility of the Let’s Talk Science volunteers.
- Teams are more successful when they prepare for weeks and/or months. We cannot open up a spot to a new team at the last minute.
- If a conflict develops and your team(s) won’t be participating, please contact us as soon as possible so that we can offer another team your spot(s) with adequate time to prepare.