Teamwork Reigns at APEGA’s Branch Science Olympics

APEGA Branch Science Olympics 2023

Students got a taste of real-world engineering on March 24 when they designed, built, and tested prosthetic legs at the eighth annual APEGA Science Olympics: Lloydminster. Everett LeComte, a Grade 9 science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM) student, says the process taught him more voices make for better solutions. “Engineering requires effort and patience, as well as teamwork. Overcoming problems is easier with other perspectives and ideas.”

APEGA’s branch Science Olympics are interactive, interschool events at which students in grades 1–12 solve challenges that demonstrate how engineering and geoscience impact our everyday lives. The curriculum-related challenges are developed and led by professional engineers and geoscientists in collaboration with local teachers, all of whom are excited to help foster a love and understanding of the professions.

Meet the professions

APEGA Branch Science Olympics 2023Karl Jory, P.Eng., treasurer of APEGA’s Vermillion River Branch, the volunteer group that holds the event, says students excelled at designing, building, and testing the prosthetic legs, which were constructed out of common materials such as plungers, cardboard, rope, and wooden blocks. Once assembled, the legs underwent testing to ensure they would endure activities like standing, walking, and getting dressed. 

Jory explains the event is a fun way to expose kids to the engineering professions. “They apply knowledge they have learned in school in a practical manner to solve everyday problems and get a sense of how engineers work together.” He explains the event encourages students to think of engineering and geoscience as potential professions to pursue after high school.

LeComte’s STEAM teacher and Science Olympics volunteer, Jade Scutt, says the magic happens when students need to work together to create a testable hypothesis to solve their problem. “It’s amazing to watch them learn a little from each experiment and then go back and make adjustments to improve their overall design.” Scutt explains true learning occurs when the students identify and refine their own solutions. “Students almost forget they are learning because of how engaged they are in the competition.”

Teamwork makes the dream work

APEGA Branch Science Olympics 2023
Jory says the branch executives and volunteers enjoy giving back to the community by helping students through the learning process and sharing their passion for the professions while working collaboratively—something engineers and geoscientists, including the APEGA branch executives, are well-versed in.

Jory’s been a member of the Vermillion River Branch executive for seven years and says the biggest benefit of being a branch member is an awareness of what’s changing in the professions. In this role, he helps plans networking events for members and is involved in outreach opportunities such as student awards, school presentations, and of course, the annual branch Science Olympics, where everyone works together to make sure children and engineering and geoscience intersect.

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Karl Jory, P.Eng.

Karl Jory, P.Eng.