What are the Problems of the Month?
The Problems of the Month are a series of science problems designed to challenge and invigorate aspiring young scientists’ minds. These questions are open to all elementary and middle school students from grades 3-8. There will be two divisions, Elementary School and Middle School, each consisting of problems with differing difficulty levels. The questions will cover a variety of topics, in areas such as:
- Earth Sciences
The Problems of the Month will run from October to March, and a new set of 8 problems will be released on the 15th of every month. Students who perform well and show a deep understanding of the topics discussed in these problems will be invited to participate in the Science Bowl, organized by OC Science, which will take place in April 2017.
Why should I participate?
As opposed to traditional competitions, OC Science allows students one month to think out their answers and come up with creative solutions to free response questions. Students are also allowed to use books, calculators, the Internet, and other materials for research, as long as the work they do is their own. The problems cover a wide range of difficulty, but students who are currently performing well in school should have no problem completing the majority of problem sets. We recommend that all interested students give the Problems of the Month a try; while these questions may be challenging, the Problems of the Month are set up in a way that allows and encourages learning and exploration of each topic, regardless of whether you are knowledgeable about it beforehand or not.
Are students allowed to use any reference materials?
Students may use any materials, such as books, calculators, and computers, for research, but their answers should be their own. Plagiarism will result in disqualification. Parents are not permitted to help students answer the questions, as doing so would defeat the purpose of the problems, but are allowed to provide research resources such as books and computers, for research. Because this is a chance for students to demonstrate their individual skill and creativity, we run on the honor system.
How will the Problems of the Month be graded?
Student solutions are graded by the OC Science Board Members, who are experienced AP students well versed in a variety of different subjects, ranging from Biology to Physics. The Problems of the Month will run from October to March, and a new set of 8 problems will be released on the 15th of every month. Students who perform well and show a deep understanding of the topics discussed in these problems will be invited to participate in the Science Bowl, which will take place in April 2017. Students’ eligibility for the Science Bowl will be based off their cumulative scores from the 6 problem sets released between October and March.
Can I turn in my solutions late?
Students who turn in their solutions late will receive 5 points off on each set of problems that is submitted late. Students who participate in the Science Bowl Training Sessions coming up in January will be eligible to submit solutions without penalty to allow those who are potentially new to the Problems of the Month to have a chance at participation in OC Science’s Science Bowl.
I’m interested! How can I participate?
Please visit https://canvas.instructure.com/register and create an account using the join code 4BPX8H to join the OC Science course on Canvas. The “username” field is your email. Your school account, if you have one, can NOT be used. To submit solutions, click on the “Quizzes” tab after logging in, and click on the appropriate quiz for the problem set you wish to submit. Canvas will auto-save your progress, so there is no need to type your solutions in a separate document.
Thank you for your interest and good luck!