What’s a little snow when you can go solve a murder mystery at Foxcroft School’s super fun STEM competition? Six-plus inches on a February morning wasn’t enough to deter 50 students from three schools from participating in the fourth annual Expedition K2M: The STEM Summit.
The unique, girls-only interscholastic team competition organized by Foxcroft’s Math and Science faculty, has become a highlight of the winter for students across Northern Virginia. Each year there are waiting lists for both middle and high school divisions.
This year’s event has a special twist. Titled “Mystery, Mayhem and Murder on the Mountain,” it began with a short video that told the tale of Kay Daver’s murder while she was trying to climb to the summit of K2. The video laid out possible murder weapons, feasible locations and eight suspects who had names like Ally Bye, Bella Donnah and Anne Thrax — and looked a lot like Foxcroft teachers.
The girls then became CSI detectives, working through five individual challenges, each a contest of its own as well as a help in solving the mystery. Working in teams of four, they analyzed Kay’s “stomach contents” to figure out what the victim had eaten and with whom. They measured the density of different materials to ascertain the murder weapon. The “Slippery Slope” trig and logic challenge identified the crime scene and the K2M engineers’ event eliminated suspects. In “Base Ballast,” teams had to get a helium balloon to reach the “summit” in 10 seconds exactly by adjusting its load of cotton balls (which represented supplies for the expedition).
Three teams solved the murder mystery correctly: No it wasn’t Col. Mustard in the Ballroom with the rope. The dastardly deed was committed with an ice axe at Station 2 by . . . “Hillary Us” — who looked a lot like Foxcroft Science Department Chair Dr. Maria Eagen!
Who says girls can’t do math and science — and have a great time doing it?!