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Welcome to the middle school challenge page for Challenge 1 of the Fairchild Challenge! Read below to find challenge information, entry requirements, resources and more for the challenge.


Challenge 1: Biological Sculpture

Title: Nature’s Sparkle and Shine
For individuals or groups | Maximum points: 200
Due Date: Fri., Oct. 22, 2021 by 5 p.m. 

Download the challenge rubric here


Your Challenge:

Have you ever found yourself fascinated by the shiny parts of nature? From snake scales to sea shells to butterfly wings to bird feathers, iridescence is all around us. For this challenge, you will inspire others with the beauty and importance of nature by creating a glittering sculpture of your own! Create a small sculpture of an iridescent creature made entirely out of “found objects” and recycled materials. The more sparkle and shine you can add to your sculpture, the better! Along with this visual representation, please include a 1-2 page written description of the creature you chose to sculpt. Please describe where the iridescence occurs on the organism and explain the possible role or purpose of its iridescence, if applicable. You must explain the difference between pigments and the physical and/or chemical characteristics that create iridescence.

Each finished sculpture should be no larger than 5”x5”x5” and should weigh no more than two pounds.  Sculptures should not contain any food or edible ingredients (including wheat, seeds, or pinecones). Select sculptures from this challenge will be featured in Phipps’ Winter Flower Show. Therefore, each sculpture should have a string, wire or other attachment so that it can be hung on display.


Entry Requirements:
Deliver to the science education coordinator at Phipps in person or via certified mail (electronic submission is not accepted).

  • Challenge Entry Form
  • ​Create a sculpture using found or recycled materials of an organism that displays iridescence.
  • Each finished sculpture should be no larger than 5”x5”x5” and should weigh no more than two pounds, and should have a string, wire or other attachment to be hung on display.
  • Write a short description of your sculpture that is no longer than 1 – 2 pages with 1-inch margins.
  • Clearly describe the physical and/or chemical components that create iridescence in your creature. Be sure to address the difference between iridescence and pigments. Describe where and how the iridescence occurs and explain the possible role or purpose of iridescence, if known.
  • Include the school name and the participating students’ names.
  • If mailing a copy to the Conservatory, please use the address below: 

Address:

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
The Fairchild Challenge c/o Jennifer Torrance
One Schenley Park
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Resources:
The following list of online resources may be used when preparing your entry.

Standards

Read below to find the standards for each grade level for Challenge 1 of the Middle School Fairchild Challenge

  • Grade Six – Eight

    • 3.1.7.A1: Describe the similarities and differences of physical characteristics in diverse organisms.
    • 3.1.6.A1: Describe the similarities and differences of major physical characteristics in plants, animals, fungi, protists, and bacteria.
    • 3.1.8.A8: Change and Consistency: Explain mechanisms organisms use to adapt to their environment.
    • 3.1.7.B5: Patterns: Compare and contrast observable patterns in the physical characteristics across families, strains and species.
    • 9.1.8.A: Know and use the elements and principles of each art form to create works in the arts and humanities.
    • 9.1.8.B: Recognize, know, use and demonstrate a variety of appropriate arts elements and principles to produce, review and revise original works in the arts.
    • CC.3.5.6-8.A: Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts.
    • CC.3.5.6-8.B: Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; provide an accurate summary of the text distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.
    • CC.1.2.6.A: Determine the central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments.
    • CC.1.2.6.B: Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences and/or generalizations drawn from the text.
    • CC.1.2.6.G: Integrate information presented in different media or formats (e.g. visually, quantitatively) as well as in words to develop a coherent understanding of a topic or issue.
    • CC.1.2.6.J: Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific words and phrases; gather vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression.
    • CC.1.2.7.B: Cite several pieces of textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences, conclusions, and/or generalizations drawn from the text.

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