This past summer, Callysto hosted an online hackathon for Grades 8-12 students and K-12 teachers across Canada. Participants were challenged to use real-world datasets and Python coding to come up with data-driven ideas for building sustainable life on Mars.
The free event ran from July 10 to August 18, and for the first time ever, teachers were allowed to participate (and compete).
The hackathon was divided into two tracks: a beginner "Curiosity" track, and an advanced “Amal” track. In the Curiosity track, participants analyzed a dataset on common pet characteristics to determine which ones would be best suited to living in a colony on Mars. In the advanced Amal track, participants used advanced coding-based modules (Jupyter notebooks) to answer more difficult questions related to the colonization of Mars. Those who chose this track were encouraged to explore any dataset of interest related to sustaining life on Mars.
Meet some of our winners
Prize category: Curiosity (student) track winner
Sonia’s challenge: Which pets should we bring to Mars?
Sonia’s answer: Sonia determined the most suitable pets for a Mars mission would be male and female cats, lizards, and a tarantula. She based this decision on three key factors: the weight of the animals, the level of maintenance required, and whether the animals would benefit from having a companion of the same species.
Why Sonia won the Curiosity challenge
Sonia excelled in the Curiosity track, successfully completing all seven challenges. The judges were impressed by her data analysis skills and ability to come up with appropriate conclusions based on the data. Additionally, her rationale for choosing the pets to bring on Mars was well-thought-out and her reflections were insightful. Overall, Sonia showed a strong aptitude for scientific thinking and problem-solving.
Why she chose to participate in the Callysto hackathon
“It seemed like a fun and exciting opportunity to participate in during the summer holiday. I also wanted to brush up on my coding skills, and I was interested to learn more about data science. Before the hackathon, I was unfamiliar with data science, however, I knew it was something I wanted to explore. I want to pursue a job in computer science and this was a great way to broaden my knowledge.”