Category Archives: Challenge Question

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


Mr. Weber’s Grade 1 reading group learned to play Scrabble this year, and boy are they good at it!  (Especially considering they’re just 6 or 7 years old)  Today we spent some time playing our first complete game; check out how cool our final board looked!


click on the image to enlarge

We also added our own adaptation to the game – if anyone played one of our weekly vocabulary words, you got 40 bonus points!  Two of our words found their way onto the board – weird, and until.  Great job, boys!

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Filed under Enrichment, Fun, Grade 1, Scrabble

What does the rat say?

We asked students to imagine what Scout could possibly thinking in the following photo:


A bunch of students came up with captions – vote for your favourite in the poll below:

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Filed under Animals, Challenge Question, Contests, Fun, Photos, Poll, Rats

Where’s Waldo: Clue #2

image credit:

image credit:

“If Odlaw were a twin, he’d feel right at home.”

*Remember – if you find one of the characters, don’t tell anybody where it is!  Thank you.

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Filed under Challenge Question, Contests, Special Events, Where's Waldo

Where’s Waldo 2013

This is an exciting week at the library – are you all ready for our second annual “Where’s Waldo” competition?!?!

Image credit:

That’s right! Just like last year, Waldo, Wenda, Wizard Whitebeard, Odlaw and Woof are hiding somewhere in the library, and it’s your job to find them!
We’re hiding one character each day this week. There will be a clue on the blog and Challenge Board every morning, and you’re welcome to come searching for them during lunch, library class, and after school. Remember, when you find them, keep it SECRET. It’s more fun for everyone that way.

Here is  today’s clue to find Woof

Image credit:

What goes up, must come down!

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Filed under Challenge Question, Special Events, Where's Waldo

Math Math Math

A lot of boys at Saints really love math.  Like, a lot.  If you’re looking for some extra challenging and interesting math problems on which to work, check out the following resources:

The University of Waterloo (in Ontario) puts out 4 math problems every week.  One is aimed to Grades 5 & 6, one to Grades 7 & 8, one to Grades 9 & 10, and one to Grades 11 & 12.  Sometimes they’re really, really hard, but often if you apply yourself you can solve all 4.  Click on the picture of this week’s Grade 5 & 6 problem (below) to visit the Problem of the Week page, where you can access all the problems and solutions from the last three years.


Another website that offers some great math challenges is MathCounts – which focuses on fun challenges for middle school aged students.  Their Problem of the Week is a set of problems that surround an event, holiday, math concept, etc. A new set is posted on Monday of each week and the solutions are available on the Monday of the following week in the Problem of the Week Archive.  Click on the banner below to visit the MathCounts website, which has all the problems from the last 13 years!


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Filed under Academics, Challenge Question, Enrichment, Fun, Grade 5, Grade 6, Grade 7

Attention Word Nerds!

Last week’s Challenge Question needs your input to decide the winner! We asked students to thumb through a dictionary and submit the weirdest word they found. We’ll decide on the winner with the poll at the end of the post!

Here are the nominees:


/ ih-tur-bee-uhm/

Noun (chemistry)

The chemical element of atomic number 70, a silvery-white metal of the lanthanide series.

ma·zel tov

/ mah-zuhl tawv, tawf, tohv/

Exclamation (from Yiddish)

A Jewish phrase expressing congratulations or wishing someone good luck.


/ pol-ee-sakuh-rahyd /

Noun (chemistry)

A carbohydrate whose molecules consist of a number of sugar molecules bonded together.



/ spi-luhngk /

Verb (used without object)

To explore caves, esp. as a hobby.


/ ahrd-vahrk /

Noun (animal)

A nocturnal burrowing African mammal (Orycteropus afer, family Orycteropidae) with long ears, a tubular snout, and a long extensible tongue, feeding on ants and termites. Aardvarks are native to Africa and have no close relatives


/ you-oo-ee /

Noun (music)
Euouae is a mnemonic which was used in medieval music to denote the sequence of tones in the “seculorum Amen” passage of the lesser doxology, Gloria Patri, which ends with the phrase In saecula saeculorum, Amen.



/ on-uh-mat-uhpeeuh /

Noun (language)

The formation of a word from a sound associated with what is named (e.g., cuckoo, sizzle); or, the use of such words for rhetorical effect.


/ zahy-mot-ik /

Adjective (chemistry)

Of, relating to, or causing fermentation.

/  lam-prof-uh-nee /

Noun (phonetics)

Loudness and clarity of enunciation with the voice.


/ zahy-guhdak-til /

(of a bird’s feet) Having two toes pointing forward and two backward.

Noun (animal)
A bird with zygodactyl feet.


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Filed under Challenge Question, Fun, Poll, Uncategorized