Elementary and …

Elementary and secondary students compete in OSU Science Olympiad Tournament

By Amy Mittinger


Published: Sunday, April 18, 2010

Updated: Sunday, April 18, 2010

Elementary and secondary school students from 80 schools throughout Ohio competed Saturday in the Ohio State Science Olympiad Tournament.

The tournament allowed some competitors, in grades seven through 12, to qualify for the national tournament.

Lynn Rathke, OSU program assistant, helped coordinate the event, which was held at 25 different locations on campus.

“We’re really excited about having over 1,500 middle and high school students on campus,” Rathke said. “They’re excited about coming to campus but they’re also very bright, so it’s a great experience for them as well as for Ohio State.”

The French Field House was the sight of four events, in which students built models to withstand gravity and sustain motion. The airplane competition required students to build model airplanes that fly for as long as possible.

Thomas Strewbik of Toledo said his goal was simply to make his plane fly upward. He and his father, Oliver, said they were anxious to see what the events of the day had in store for them.

The helicopter competition was similar to the airplane competition. 
The goal was to keep two pinwheels, placed on either side of a wooden stick, in flight for the longest time.

Other students participated in the trajectory competition, which required them to launch a tennis ball from machines they built onto a target pad approximately 5 feet in front of them.

The fourth event in the Field House was the junkyard challenge. This event required teams of four students to create a device within 30 minutes that would set off four mouse traps when a golf ball was rolled into it. The team that set off all four mouse traps in the time closest to a minute would win the competition.

“It’s fantastic to use real science and apply it,” Anne Kimmins said while watching her son compete in the junkyard challenge. “This takes it beyond what a typical teacher can do in the classroom.”

Just outside the field house, students participated in an event that required them to complete individual physical activities while simultaneously answering science-related questions. Cameron Spencer, a seventh-grade science teacher at the West Liberty Salem School District, said he was proud to watch his students excel.

“We’re just a country school, but we work hard. We’re very competitive,” he said.

One new addition to the competition this year was the egg-a-thon competition, held at the Lincoln Tower Park Fields. Students were required to store and protect an egg inside of a 2-liter bottle so that it would not break when the bottle was shot up from a small cannon and fell back to the ground.

Gail Yacyshyn, a 10th-grade student, said she was glad to learn from this event.

“I’m a sophomore and studying ornithology, so it prepares me,” she said.

Each event ended by 3 p.m., giving the event coordinators time to compile awards for the ceremony at 7 p.m. in the French Field House.

Student participants anxiously awaited their school’s name to be called for an award in their category, while parents and teachers observed from the bleachers. The top six schools in each competition were awarded with medals, and the top three winners in each division went on to receive trophies. The top two winners in each division will advance to the national tournament at the University of Illinois this summer.  



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