Saturday, March 5, was the big day for the MHS Science Bowl team, which competed in the New England Regional Tournament, Northern Division, held at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, Connecticut.
More than 500 students from around New England participated, forming 80 quiz teams and 15 car teams. Of the 45 schools registered, MHS was the only all-girls school at the event, which is sponsored by the UConn School of Engineering, Gerber Scientific, and UTC Power, a division of United Technologies.
Thirteen Miss Hall’s students traveled to UConn, leaving MHS at 5 a.m. — on the first day of Spring Break. The students were formed into three teams. Quiz Team A was captained by Emily Pulver ’16 and included Maddie McCain ’16, Julia Baron ’17, Artemis Fraine ’17, and Vivian Hou ’18. Quiz Team B was captained by Jenna Crosier ’17 and included Michela Laurin ’18, Kitty Sheridan ’18, and Amy Qian ’18. The Car Team was captained by Desiré Garza ’16 and included Katrina Baumgarten ’16, Olivia Nealon ’17, and Cynthia Leonard ’19. Science Teachers Ed Eckel and MaryKate Corliss served as coaches, and Meghan Sharpe, Emily’s mother, assisted with Quiz Team A.
The quiz competition is formatted as timed games of short-answer and multiple-choice questions in team format. Toss-up questions test individual knowledge, and bonus questions test group collaboration. All areas of science and math are included, with emphasis on traditional high school science topics through the Advanced Placement level. The car teams build a small car using an electric motor powered by a hydrogen fuel cell. The goal is to negotiate a 5 meter track in the shortest time. Reports Cynthia:
Once we arrived, the car and quiz teams huddled, had a pep talk, and separated to our competitions. We immediately began work on the car. We worked through lunch, at which point other teams had their cars up and moving, and we were hitting difficulties. Things seemed to get worse and worse, until Katrina came up with a new plan for a new type of car. We only had an hour left, and it was still not working. Minutes before our first race, we had something that resembled a car, but we couldn’t get it to move.
Luckily, we had two races and an hour before the second one. For the second race, we adjusted the car. As we injected the hydrogen, everyone held their breath, and … IT WORKED! Our car moved three feet, and our opponents’ didn't move at all. We all cheered as we broke the doldrums that had prevented us from succeeding. This year, our car worked!
The girls had a great day competing for the opportunity to attend the National Tournament in late April. While MHS did not qualify, the girls showed a lot of courage and resilience. The Quiz Teams played ten games each over the course of six hours. The A team won four and tied one, while the B team won three games.In the Quiz games, Emily led all MHS students with 39 attempted questions, earning the team over 136 points, including associated bonuses. Artemis was nearly as strong, with 33 attempts netting the team 122 points. All players contributed throughout the day. This was the fourth year that Maddie competed. Julia, Artemis, and Olivia were in their third competition, while Jenna and Desiré were in their second.
This was the fourth consecutive year MHS has been well represented by a diverse collection of interested students who do not share a class or activity as specific preparation for this event. Observing the students in action, under pressure in a public arena, one is inspired to continue supporting the MHS mission of providing opportunities and materials for girls to boldly challenge themselves to do more than they have been able to do before.
— By Science Teacher Ed Eckel and Cynthia Leonard ’19