MS Eco-Scientist Skit or Mini-Musical due in mid-March

musical theaterDo we have a challenge for you!  Decide on a scientist who has dedicated his or her life’s work to an environmental issue, turn that scientist into a superhero and have him or her be the star of an original skit or mini-musical!    Challenge #4 is a great opportunity for the whole class to get involved.  For example, a “team of researchers” could choose the environmental scientist who will be the subject of the piece and get the facts down. A group of creative writers could come up with the scientist’s super power and write the script.  And then, of course, the performers – budding actors, singers (and dancers?) – can perform the 3 minute skit or mini-musical in front of a video camera (held by an aspiring filmmaker!).  This is your chance to show us what you got and teach the world the importance of scientists!  Lights, camera, action…

Very challenging: High School Challenge #4 seeks the newest Superhero/Eco-Scientist

earthIt’s a bird…it’s a plane…NO!   It’s super climate scientist, making the world safe from the ravages of global warming!  But for real, there are  current scientists and past scientists who have dedicated their lives to saving the planet in one way or another.  Challenge #4 asks you to find out about one important environmental scientist (turned SUPERHERO) and create a short graphic novel about his or her life’s work.  This is a great challenge to do as a team, delegating research, writing and drawing to different people in your group.  We’ll have a couple of professional cartoonists and a scientist here to judge.  The deadline is Friday, February 20th.  See HS Challenges in Depth for detailed requirements.  Zap!! Pow!!! Go for it!!!

HS students create exquisite plant/pollinator drawings!


The detail!  The beauty!  The competition!  It was intense and the judges, all botanical artists along with the assistant curator from the Hunt Botanical Library at CMU, were mightily impressed with the quality of the entries.  There were so many excellent depictions of plant and pollinator interactions that the judges chose six  drawings deserving of “Special Merit” awards,  in addition to the Top Three places.  Here are the winners:

1st Place: Lan Nhi Le, Pittsburgh Science and Technology Academy

2nd Place: Nicole Karman, Hampton High School

3rd Place: Miranda Miller and Jessica Burch, Woodland Hills High School

Special Merit Awards:

Sophya Breedlove, Hampton High School for an amazing bee

Alayah Walker, Gateway High School for creativity and skill

Sydnie Wilson, Gateway High School for original view

Adrienne Abel, Shaler Area High School for exquisite detail

Brendan Donovan, Shaler Area High School for pen and ink artistry

Virgina Houck, Shaler Area High School for composition

Congratulations to all.  These drawings and others will be included in the Phipps Center for Sustainable Landscapes gallery exhibit, coming in May and running through Summer 2015.  They will also be entered in a global competition being sponsored by the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Coral Gables, Florida.


Ring in the New Year with Plants and Pollinators

Northgate Honorable MentionFrom all of us here at Phipps, we hope your holidays were wonderful.  Now that January is here, we want to remind you that Challenge 3 is due soon (the deadline for high schools is January 16, and January 23 for middle schools)  Step 1: Research plants that live here in western Pennsylvania and choose one.  Step 2: Find out what little creature pollinates it. Step 3: Using colored pencils or a simple black pencil or ink, draw your best illustration of this plant and pollinator pair.   A panel of professional botanical artists will be judging your work, so be as accurate and artistic as you can.  (See Challenges in Depth for more specific requirements.) We can’t wait to see your drawings (some of which will be exhibited here at Phipps from May to August)!

Challenge #2 High School Winners Announced

One way that humans interact with plants is through the food they produce for us.  Challenge #2 photographs by high school students revealed this relationship in creative and original ways  Thanks to all who participated.  And the winners are:

1st Place: Gina Bao, North Allegheny Senior High School

2nd Place: Taylor Laffey and Anthony Zelina, Shaler Area High School

3rd Place: Tess Majewski, North Allegheny Intermediate High School

To see some of the winning photos, check out our sister blog Phipps Science Education!

Great job, everyone! Now, remember to eat more kale!

Photos by middle schoolers depict the relationship between people and edible plants

Squash photoWe saw pumpkins growing, children happily gulping down a variety of fruits and vegetables and mint going from garden to teapot.  Those were among the images taken by our middle school Fairchild Challenge participants.  The judging panel comprised of photography experts and vegetable gardeners chose these as the winners:

1st Place: Bilquisu Abdullah, Syed Rizvi and Sean Bright, Shaffer Elementary 6th grade

2nd Place: Audrey Lyda, The Ellis School

3rd Place: Dylan Sparkenbaugh, David E. Williams Middle School

Special Merit “for personal story”: Panari Patel, Keystone Oaks Middle School

Special Merit “for storytelling”: Eddie Sheets, Shaler Area Middle School (including squash photo, above)

To see some more of the winning photos, go to our sister blog Phipps Science Education.

Congratulations to all 265 of our middle school photographers who took the challenge!  Winners will be invited to tell their stories on the Saturday Light Brigade radio show on Dec. 27.


Radio stars rise on December 27th

thMH52JZEDTop winners of the middle school Challenge #2: People and Edible Plants photo essays will be invited to appear live on the long-running family-friendly radio program, The Saturday Light Brigade,  on Saturday morning, December 27th at 10:35 a.m.    Enjoy what they have to say by tuning into WRCT, 88.3 fm  or listen online at slbradio.