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Summer camp 2020

Science Competition Camp RECAP

June 8,2020 - June 19, 2020

15 instructors, 20 lectures, 1 Invitational 

Science Olympiad Camp: 250+ students

Science Bowl Camp: 250+ students

SVSY Science Bowl Competition: 180 participants

Students are from 19 States in US (CA, CT, FL, GA, IA, IN, KS, LA, MD, NJ, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, TX, VA, WA) and 5 provinces/cities in Canada (Ontario, Vancouver, Halifax, Fredericton, Moncton) 

day 1: 6/8

Science olympiad introduction

Founded in 1984, Science Olympiad is one of the premier science competitions in the nation. Students compete 23 events in tournaments at regional, state, and national levels. The subjects cover 5 categories:

  • Life, personal, social science

  • Earth and space science

  • Physical science & Chemistry

  • Technology & Engineering

  • Inquiry & Nature of Science


Each school can form 1-3 teams, each team consists of 15 members, and up to 5 alternates. Each member competes in 3-4 events. 



During today's astronomy session, students learned the basics of large-scale astronomical structures, such as stars and galaxies. Along with receiving a conceptual understanding of the topics covered, students were able to review their knowledge with multiple interactive polls and a live Kahoot quiz game at the end of the session.

Main Topics:

  • Light/EM spectrum

  • Stellar Life Cycles

  • Hertzsprung-Russell Diagrams

  • Galactic Evolution

  • Stellar and Galactic Classification


Circuit lab
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In the Circuit Lab session today, students were introduced to fundamental concepts in electromagnetism as well as some advanced problem-solving techniques used in circuit analysis. After learning about each of the subtopics covered, students were given quick quiz questions as refreshers for what they had learned. At the end of the session, the instructors provided students with personal tips and strategies for the lab portion of the event.



Main Topics:

  • Historical overview of people’s contributions to electricity & magnetism

  • Electric charges, fields, and forces

  • Direct current vs alternating current

  • Concepts and units of current, voltage, resistance, power, energy, using Ohm’s law, and capacitance

  • Magnetic poles/fields, electromagnets, transformers, motors/generators, right-hand rule

  • Simple calculations, constructions, and configurations of a circuit and individual components

  • Simple circuit analysis using Kirchhoff’s Voltage & Current Laws

day 2: 6/9

Anatomy & physiology

Anatomy and Physiology is an event which tests students' knowledge about the anatomy and physiology of a human body. Today’s anatomy session covered various aspects of the skeletal system, including its detailed structure and function. Students were also introduced to a few diseases of the skeletal system, and they were given the opportunity to test their knowledge in two different Kahoot games.

Main Topics:

  • Bone/joint types

  • Fractures

  • Osteoarthritis

  • Bone structure/cells

  • Leukemias

  • Hormones



Codebusters event is about decoding encrypted messages and encoding messages with certain advanced ciphers. During today's class students learned about different cryptograms and how to use them. The ciphers learned included the Atbash cipher, the Caesar cipher, the Baconian cipher, and the Aristocrat/Monoalphabetic cipher. The Patristocrat and Affine ciphers were briefly introduced. Students then took part in some practices and raced to solve various ciphers. At the end, students were given tips and tricks that can help them in decryption.



day 3: 6/10

Gravity Vehicle 

Gravity Vehicle is an event where students construct a vehicle that uses gravitational potential energy to travel to a target point at a specified distance. In today’s session, we covered the details of how to construct a ramp and vehicle as well as important tips and strategies to succeed in a build project like this.

Main Topics:

  • Designing Ramp

  • Designing Vehicle

  • Building Tips

  • Tools

  • Practice Logs

  • Testing Strategies


Crime Busters

Crime Busters is an event that requires the identification of different pieces of "evidence" through the use of their chemical and physical properties. During today’s instruction, students learned the fundamentals of basic chemistry and the properties of many common powders, liquids, and metals through the use of an interactive presentation alongside video demos. Students were then tested on their knowledge of these properties through a Kahoot game.


Main topics:

  • Basic chemistry

  • Properties of powders, liquids, and metals

  • Other crime scene evidence including fibers, plastics, etc.



day 4: 6/11


Machines is a Division B and Division C event for the 2020 season. It consists of both a build and test portion involving the fundamental concepts of simple and compound machines, including the types of simple machines, their uses, input and output forces, mechanical advantage, and more.


Main Topics:

  • Introduction to Machines

  • Force, Friction, Torque, & Levers

  • Pulleys

  • Wheel & Axle

  • Wedges

  • Inclined Planes

  • Screws

  • How to Build a Lever


Genetics & Heredity 

Heredity (Division B) and Designer Genes (Division C) are the Science Olympiad events which cover the field of genetics. Today's genetics session gave students an introduction to Mendelian genetics as well as its relationship with the molecular basis of inheritance. Students also learned about various types of non-Mendelian inheritance, the cell cycle, and how to conduct pedigree analysis of important genetic disorders.


Main Topics:

  • Mendelian Inheritance

  • Mendel's Laws

  • Punnett Squares

  • Non-Mendelian Inheritance

  • Chromosomes

  • Genetic Disorders

  • Pedigrees

  • Cell Cycle

  • Mitosis & Meiosis


day 5: 6/12

Science research

In this session, students learned how they can expand their scientific knowledge into personal projects that they can showcase at local fairs. We specifically covered the details of applying to the Synopsys Science Fair. This fair allows students to showcase personal projects to judges and representatives from various sponsoring companies. We also invited a 3-year Category judge, Mrs. Karen Xiong, to share some of her insights on how projects are judged.

Main Topics:

  • Synopsys Science Fair

  • Application Process

  • Project Requirements

  • Preparing for the Fair

  • Judge Insights

  • Brief Overview of California State Engineering Fair



Protein Modeling

During the Protein Modeling session today, students learned the basics of protein structure and genetic engineering, as well as protein modeling techniques. Students were able to individually model the 2020 season's Cytidine Deaminase protein by learning how to use Jsmol with instructor assistance, and were able to review their conceptual understanding at the end of the session with a Kahoot quiz.


Main Topics:

  • Protein Structure

  • Protein Creation

  • Genetic Engineering

  • CRISPR-Cas9 system


water Quality

Water Quality is an event that tests participants' knowledge about aquatic ecology, indicator species, and water testing, among other related topics. In today's session, students learned about basic ecology, a branch of biology that explores the relationships between organisms and their surroundings, and about coral reefs and the danger humans pose to them. Throughout the presentation, students were presented with questions to test their engagement, and they participated in a Kahoot at the very end that gave them a taste of an actual test.

Main Topics:

  • Basics of Ecology


  • Estuaries

  • Water Analysis


day 6: 6/15

Introduction to Science Bowl 

Founded and sponsored by the Department of Energy in 1991, Science Bowl is in quiz bowl/Jeopardy style with buzzer systems. The subjects cover six categories:

  • ​​Biology / Life Science

  • Chemistry

  • Physics

  • Earth and Space/Astronomy

  • Energy

  • Math.


Each school can form 1-2 teams, each team consists of 5 members with 1 being alternate. 

Regional champions are invited to an all-expense-paid national finals in DC. Two national finalists demonstrated their NSB trips in 2017 and 2019. Miller SB team Parent Coach Mrs. Karen was invited to brief on Miller SB accolades and share her experience of coaching Miller SB team to National Runner-up. 


Science Bowl: Biology 

During this morning's Science Bowl Biology class, students received an introduction walked to the fundamental concepts of biology needed to succeed in science bowl. Students also heard insightful competitive advice from the instructor on best practices for answering questions during Science Bowl to maximize point yield. At the end of the lesson, students were able to check their mastery of the knowledge and ability to apply it to new situations through a Kahoot quiz.


Main topics:

  • Macromolecules

  • The Cell

  • Plants and Photosynthesis

  • Human Anatomy

  • Taxonomy

  • Genetics

  • Famous Biologists



Science Bowl: Energy

During this morning's Science Bowl Energy mini-lecture, students learned some essential energy concepts for the Science Bowl Energy category as well as tricks to score well on Energy questions.


Main Topics:

  • Breakdown of Sources of Energy by Percent in the U.S.

  • Non-renewable Energy

  • Renewable Energy


day 7: 6/16

Science Bowl: Chemistry

During this morning's Science Bowl Biology class, students were given the lecture on Chemistry topics in Science Bowl. In middle Science Bowl competition, chemistry questions are in the Physics subject. At the end of the session, students were able to check their mastery of the knowledge and participated a Kahoot quiz. 


Main Topics:

  • Atoms, Molecules and Compounds

  • Moles

  • Periodic Table of Elements

  • Electrons

  • Bonding

  • Phases

  • Reactions

  • Acids, Bases, and pH,

  • Famous chemists



Science Bowl: Math & Physics

In today's Math & Physics session, students were first introduced to some math concepts that commonly appear in Science Bowl, as well as the math fundamentals for physics. Then, they learned core physics concepts and were introduced to classical mechanics. At the end of the session, students took part in a Kahoot to review what they learned.


Main Topics:

  • Science Bowl Math Strategies and Math Fundamentals

  • Physics Fundamentals

  • Overview of Mechanics

  • Kinematics



day 8: 6/17

Science Bowl: Physics

In today's Physics session, students were introduced to more areas on mechanics, such as dynamics and circular motion, as well as electromagnetism and waves. At the end of the session, students did a Kahoot to refresh everything that they had learned.


Main Topics:

  • Dynamics

  • Circular Motion

  • Work, Energy, and Momentum

  • Electromagnetism

  • Waves & Optics




Scienc Bowl: Earth Science 

Earth Science is the study of the Earth and its neighbors in space. Geology is the primary Earth science. In today's session, students learned about the composition of Earth materials, Earth structures, and Earth processes. 


Main Topics:

  • Rocks and Minerals

  • Plate Tectonics

  • Volcanoes

  • Earthquake


day 9: 6/18

Science Bowl: Earth Science

In today's session students continued to learn more interesting topics in Earth Science:

The atmosphere is comprised of layers based on temperature. These layers are the troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere and thermosphere. A further region at about 500 km above the Earth's surface is called the exosphere. Students also learned the composition of atomsphere and how to measure air pressure. 


Students first learned wind formation, wind speed and direction, then went over Coriolis Effect concept: the Coriolis effect is defined as how a moving object seems to veer toward the right in the Northern hemisphere and left in the Southern hemisphere. An example of the Coriolis effect is hurricane winds turning left in the Northern hemisphere.


Students learned the different types of mass wasting, runoff, rivers and river deposition. 

Science Bowl Practice

In today's Science Bowl Practice session, we re-capped the detailed Science Bowl Competition rules with real examples from the 2019 National Science Bowl Final Youtube Clips. Students were given a mock round of 20 Toss-up and 20 Bonus questions with the designated time limit. The questions cover all the topics students learnt this week, which include Life Science, Earth and Space, Physical Sciences, Energy and Math. At the end, students played 25 questions of Kahoot! 



day 10: 6/19

Science BowL invitational
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