Science Olympiad Back Competing

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Science Olympiad Back Competing

Recognition: Students from Science Olympiad get recognized at the spring awards assembly.

Recognition: Students from Science Olympiad get recognized at the spring awards assembly.

Recognition: Students from Science Olympiad get recognized at the spring awards assembly.

Recognition: Students from Science Olympiad get recognized at the spring awards assembly.

Hazen Erickson, staff writer

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When you think of the Olympics, you probably think of track and field or ice-skating, but you may not think of science. That’s because you’re probably not a member of the Science Olympiad team, but nine students from SVHS were, and they competed in Casper on April 13th.

In grades 6-12, Science Olympiad functions much like a football or soccer team, requiring preparation, commitment, coaching and practice throughout the year. Each school-based team is allowed to bring 15 students who cross-train for a variety of events in their skill set, but some school clubs have more than 75 members, allowing for an apprentice and mentoring system.

Science Olympiad competitions are like academic track meets, consisting of a series of 23 team events in each division (Division B is middle school; Division C is high school). Each year, a portion of the events are rotated to reflect the ever-changing nature of genetics, earth science, chemistry, anatomy, physics, geology, mechanical engineering and technology. By combining events from all disciplines, Science Olympiad encourages a wide cross-section of students to get involved. Emphasis is placed on active, hands-on group participation. Through Science Olympiad, students, teachers, parents, principals and business leaders bond together and work toward a shared goal.

Mr. Nethercott, science teacher extraordinaire and past advisor for Science Olympiad, has again taken up the duty and taken young scientists to the event. Nethercott discussed this year’s team and event:

What is Science Olympiad?

Science Olymiad is a state science competition held in Casper.  Students knowledge/abilities are tested in 20+ STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) areas.  Categories from biology, chemistry, physics, geology, astronomy, and engineering are the primary focus.  With engineering competitions, students design, build, test, etc.  projects to be tested at the science competition.  This year students built a rubber band-powered balsa wood plane with the major goal of it staying aloft as long as possible.  Another project had our students build and test a mousetrap powered vehicle that would push a paper cup 8 m and then back up 3 meters.  There are several different engineering competitions.  Students also showed their knowledge on things like glaciers, geologic maps, fossils, astronomy, proteins, anatomy, scientific process, writing skills, chemistry lab problem solving, etc.  Go to www.soinc.org for more information on the competition.  At the state event all school sizes compete against each other 1A through 4A.  A team consists of 15 students and we only had 9 this year.  We could use a few more willing bodies to participate.

How did you do?

We finished first in two of the 21 events:  Geologic mapping (Miriam Wolfley and Brelle Christensen) and Dynamic Planet (glaciation)( Renn Helm and Westley Bateman)
We finished second in two events:  Mousetrap Vehicle (Chris Luchetta and Chet Long) and Fossils (Miriam Wolfley and Brelle Christensen)
We finished third in one event:  Boomilever (Chet Long and Eammon Walters)
We finished fourth in one event: Wright Stuff (Ben Bateman and Evan Hubbard)
Overall we finished about in the middle of the standings.
How do you think you will do next year?
I know we can do better next year, especially if we can get more people who are willing to come in and spend some extra time after school to practice and learn their events.  We took state back in 2007 and took a group of students to the National Science Olympiad tournament that was held in Witchita, Kansas.
How do students get involved?
Student who are interested in participating should contact me in September next fall and listen to announcements of meetings.  Also, they can contact any of this year’s team members for more information.
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