On the second Tuesday of every month, three teams from Andover High School’s Science Team are sent to another school to compete in the North Shore Science League (NSSL) in tasks such as answering questions and doing hands-on projects. Their next competition is Tuesday, Nov. 13 in Danvers. The AHS Science Team has won the last three North Shore Science League (NSSL) championships in a row.
“The science team has been participating in the NSSL since approximately 1980,” said Mr. Donovan, an advisor for the Science Team. “The North Shore Science League is a group of around twenty schools that compete in monthly meets seven times a year.” Different schools host the meets. Students prepare for the different events by having knowledge about specific topics; for example, October’s topics were about the birds of New England and fossil fuels. Sometimes, there is also a building challenge: in October, team members had to build a device that flips bottles correctly.
On the third Tuesday of each month, club members are provided with information about the next topics. Captains form three different teams, A, B, and C, and provide the resources that are required for the meet. The teams split up the work and study the topics prior to the competition. Besides studying with their team, students also study individually. During the ordinary club meetings, students can sign up for other events that they would like to participate in.
At the meets, the events usually aren’t just about answering questions about a specific topic. According to Rishi Srinivasan, the junior captain, “During the meets, teams participate in various events that pertain to numerous science topics such as chemistry, engineering, medicine, and more. These events can either be in a test format or in a more engaging format such as examining animal fur or even building prototypes.” After the specific event is over, students who attended the NSSL get to eat and socialize with kids from other schools. The competitions are a place for people passionate about science to get together and talk about a common interest.
Although the AHS Science Team has won the last three NSSL championships in a row, they didn’t do well in the meet on Tuesday, Oct. 10. They came in ninth place, which is, “a little bit worse than what we usually do; we are usually in the top three,” according to Donovan.
Besides the North Shore Science League competition, this year, more opportunities are going to open up for students to participate in competitions other than the NSSL.
By Ishaani Sharma