What are the Problems of the Week?
The Problems of the Week 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:
The Problems of the Week will run from October to March, and a new problem will be released every Sunday and are due 11:59 the followingSaturday. Students who perform well and show a deep understanding of the topics discussed in these problem sets will be invited to participate in the Science Bowl, organized by OC Science, which will take place in April 2018.
Why should I participate?
As opposed to traditional competitions, OC Science allows students one week 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 Week a try; while these questions may be challenging, the Problems of the Week 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. However, students should consult the reference source included. 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 Week 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 Week will run from October to March, and a new problem will be released weekly. 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 2018. Students’ eligibility for the Science Bowl will be based off their cumulative scores from the all the 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 will have a week to do the set and will given an additional week to do the set late. After that week, the student cannot do the set.
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!