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Olympics Of The Mind
By Mr. John Valente

Creativity is the name of the game in this course!!  With your newly made friends, you’ll use your ingenuity and knowledge of physical science to create a solution to a design challenge.  Olympics for the brain!

Each week you will be presented with a design challenge.  You and your team will use your imagination, creativity, experience and knowledge of physical science to envision a possible solution.  You’ll design and build your own solution.  Once built, you’ll conduct several experiments to test the ability of your design to solve the challenge.  Based on your test results you’ll redesign and modify your solution to improve its effectiveness.  We’ll end each challenge with a competition.  Will your team have the winning design?

For example, one challenge requires you to build a memorial tower to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the founding of your town. You’ll be challenged to design your tower out of a single sheet  of copy paper.  Winning towers typically reach heights greater then six feet!  Another challenge will be to build a marble roller coaster that enables a marble to take the longest time to reach the bottom.   Be original!  Yet another challenge: your five-year-old daughter has fallen down an old abandoned well next to a windmill.  Your job will be to design a pulley system, powered by the wind, to lift your child to safety as quickly as possible.   In actuality, you will design a wind lifting system that will lift paper clips through a vertical distance of 50 centimeters.

This is your opportunity to innovate – to explore.  This is Olympics for the brain!

Mr. John Valente 
Science Faculty

Marine Academy of Science and Technology

Mr. John Valente is a science teacher at the Marine Academy of Science and Technology (MAST) located on Sandy Hook, New Jersey.   He teaches physics with an emphasis on physical oceanography and AP physics.  He is also the Vice-President of the New Jersey American Association of Physics Teachers.  As such, Mr. Valente conducts numerous workshops for physics teachers with the goal of improving physics teaching.  He also currently serves as Co-Chair of the Physics Olympics Committee.  The Physics Olympics brings students from around the state to compete in various science challenges.  Mr. Valente earned an M.A. in Physical Science Education from The College of New Jersey.