Foxcroft School’s ever-popular Expedition K2M: The STEM Summit was a grand success Saturday, especially for the hosts! For the first time in the seven-year history of the hands-on science, technology, engineering, and math competition especially for girls, Foxcroft teams swept the top three places in the high school division.
A team from St. Patrick’s Episcopal School took the middle school championship, culminating a lively day in which some 150 girls from 21 schools took on a variety of STEM problems. All the challenges were centered around the theme of the day — animal conservation, endangered species, and problems like poaching.
“We hope that in addition to having a lot of fun, you will learn something about animal conservation today,” said Dr. Maria Evans, chair of Foxcroft’s STEM Department and director of the competition. “We are raising awareness so that you might leave here thinking about what you can do to speak up for animals who don’t have a voice for themselves.”
The Blue Whale Warriors team, comprised of seniors Saylor H., Morgan H., Cici J., and Pradyuta P., won one of the five challenges and placed in two others to claim the gorgeous school trophy, designed and made by sophomore Kenzie G. In keeping with the theme, the trophy, medals, and huge stuffed animals awarded to the winning teams all represent endangered species.
Second place in the high school division went to the Gorilla Guardians (Sarah E. '19, Lily F. '19, Chloe G. '19, and Kenzie G. '20), while the Narwhal Knights (Mia B. ’18, Bella B. ’19, Sylvia Y. ’19, and Leslie W. ’20) took third. The Komodo Dragons from Georgetown Visitation won two of the five challenges, while teams from the Solid Foundation Homeschool group and another Foxcroft team won the others.
In the middle school division, St. Patrick’s Ivory Saviors (Louisa K., Jane W., Sarah W., and Lucy W.) took home the school title. Tiger Trust from the Village School placed second, followed by Harmony Middle School’s Coral Conservationists.
The annual competition, which is always filled to capacity, showcases Foxcroft's innovative and appealing focus on the STEM fields and offers girls a chance to give their brains a workout, develop collaborative skills working with others, and gain confidence in fields so often reserved for boys.
The energy and enthusiasm that filled Foxcroft’s Athletic/Student Center and Schoolhouse Science Labs all day was inspirational. Competing in teams of three or four, girls took on five different challenges. They used math and physics to create conservatories for pangolins, the most poached species on earth. They used chemistry to distinguish fake and real specimens from a likely illegal animal transaction and decoded messages to stop poachers. In between the the challenges they used Kindle Fires supplied by Foxcroft to answer questions and solve problems in an app that Dr. Evans created.K2M, Inc
., the bio-medical company that sponsors the day, runs one of the challenges each year and brings a team of female engineers to share their experiences and answer questions — an inspirational experience for the young competitors.
Freshman Isobel D., who volunteered to help with math teacher Dan Hales' "Lost in Translation" decoding challenge, couldn't contain her enthusiasm. “That was so much fun! I loved that!” she exclaimed. “I'm totally competing next year.” Based on the smiles and zeal shown by the rest of the participants, it's clear that no matter the role, everyone loves Expedition K2M.