I picked up the elephant first. The clock was ticking. Al and I grabbed for the pipe cleaners, unfortunately inspiration hadn’t hit yet. The Kennebunk team across from us in the film studio was hurriedly constructing what looked something like a skyscraper of jumbled animals. We had only managed to get a panther and a lion atop a pipe cleaner pyramid when the buzzer sounded.
We lost the food web engineering challenge, but luckily we won the competition overall. Junior Al Ghorashi and I were representing Waynflete on MEST Up (Math, Engineering, Science, and Technology), a game show for high school students. Our animal pyramid was the engineering challenge. In addition, the competition consisted of a jeopardy style round, a lightening round style question and answer period, and a final math challenge where we could wager our points.
I was first introduced to MEST Up when Science Chair Wendy Curtis enthusiastically projected a previous episode in astrophysics class. I immediately thought, “I would never do that.” Three days later, science teacher Carol Titterton promised me a box of munchkins if I would go on the show. That’s how I found myself in a film studio in Westbrook answering questions about dodecahedrons, the solar system, the Hippocratic Oath, and many other topics, including this one: “If 200 is added to a positive integer X, the result is a square integer. Adding 276 to the same integer X results in another square integer. Solve for X.” There was even a question to which the answer was “platypus.” To my surprise, it was a fun experience.
Our victory assured us a place in the semifinal competition. If we win in semifinals, we will advance to the finals and the opportunity to win a new iPad each, a trophy, and “eternal glory.” The show airs Thursday nights at 7 PM on WXPT (channel 12). Our next match will be aired on the 27th or later. Click here to watch the the Kennebunk match.