Event Name Treasure Hunt among Atoms
Start Date 14th Nov 2014
End Date
Duration N/A
Description A competition was organized as a part of "Science is fun at METU" science-fair organized by Middle East Technical University in order to attract and engage high-school students in scientific activities. Science-fair took place at METU Campus on November 14th, 2014 as a full-day event.

About 100 traffic cones were arranged in a parking lot similar to the basal plane of a hexagonal crystal. Therefore, each traffic cone represented an atom. Then, 10 artifacts (clues) were randomly placed under the cones. These artifacts are related to some basic materials science knowledge. As an example, the first artifact was three different metal powders, Al, Ni and Zn, that are placed in plastic containers and students were instructed to identify and distinguish the metal powders. After providing the correct answer, students were directed to the second artifact. Students used a 2D coordinate system similar to the crystallographic directions. Coordinate system and crystallographic directions and arrangements were introduced to the students at the beginning of the competition. For example, they were instructed to find the second artifact by going 7 traffic cones along [-11] direction, where first artifact was the origin. If the students could not find the artifact or get lost in the crystal, they would be eliminated from the competition.

Questions and directions got harder and complicated after each clue. Overall, 70 students participated in the competition individually or in groups. Only 1 group of students answered all 10 clues correctly and they are awarded by an Apple Ipad Air. They decided to receive a gift card equal to the price of Ipad and shared the gift card equally. All of the students, however, successfully found their way in the crystal without making any mistakes. At the end of the day, they all knew why atoms in solids arrange themselves in a crystallographic manner, the purpose of the crystal and crystallographic directions and common materials science knowledge.


Location Ankara
Contact Mert Efe
Category activities for schoolchildren