The Ilan Ramon’s Science Olympiad for Junior High School students
Dr. Zahava Scherz
Prof. Bat Sheva Eylon
Dr. Ilana Hopfeld – coordinator
Dr. Diana Laufer
Dr. Ronny Mualem
Dr. Igal Patel
Astronomy and space exploration are fascinating subjects which prompted new ideas about how the universe works and of humans place in it. However these topics are not included in the Israeli science and technology formal syllabus for junior-high school (JHS). We found a way to introduce these topics using a competitive strategy through a Space and Energy Olympiad. The Olympiad commemorates the first Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon which was a crew member of the Columbia Space Shuttle and took place for the past 10 years (since the Columbia crash) , with over 1500 JHS students participation each year.
The Olympiad stages: (i) An internet quiz for interested JHS students’ teams (ii) complex scientific problem for the best 30 teams (iii) improvement of the problem proposed solution for the 10 top teams and presentation (using power point presentation, scientific poster and model). (iv) Final winning ceremony, with participation of Mrs. Rona Ramon.
We found that dealing with real-world problems through collaborative work motivate learning, challenging their scientific knowledge, ingenuity and creativity.