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Seriously Cool Challenge Questions

While looking for a new challenge question for this week, Mr. Weber came across a really interesting website:

The flame challenge began a couple of years ago when actor (and founding member of Stony Brook University’s Center for Communicating Science) Alan Alda was wondering about a question he had when he was 11 years old:  “What is a flame?”  He had been told by a teacher that it was “oxidation”, but he didn’t really understand what that meant.  At all.  So Alda presented scientists all over the globe with a challenge: explain what a flame is to an 11 year old (i.e. in everyday language.)


Much to everyone’s surprise, this creative competition was a big hit, and over 800 entries were submitted.  After screening for scientific accuracy, the challenge was judged by thousands of real-life 11 year olds.  Click here to check out the winners of the first annual Flame Challenge question “What is a flame?”

The next year, instead of asking the question himself, he crowdsourced the question from — you guessed it — actual 11 year olds.  The question that came out on top was: “What is time?”  Click here to check out the winners of the 2013 Flame Challenge.

This year, students from around the world challenged scientists to explain to them: “What is colour?”

Entries needed to be submitted by March 1, 2014.  Do you think you could provide a winning explanation?

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Filed under Challenge Question, Contests, Enrichment, Fun, Really Good Questions

One response to “Seriously Cool Challenge Questions

  1. Pingback: What is Color? Finalists! | Curious [St.] George

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