Monday, April 10, 2017

Science Olympiad Scholars

This is the second year that our family has joined the Homeschool Science Colorado group to compete in Science Olympiad.

The easiest way to explain Science Olympiad competition is to compare it to a track meet. Each team consists of up to 15 students, with each one preparing for and competing in different events in groups of 2-3 students per event. The events range from hands-on building projects (Robot Arm, Hovercraft) to pure-knowledge events (Materials Science, Rocks and Minerals). At the end of the day, individual event awards are presented and the rankings from each event are added together to get a team score.

Our Regional Science Olympiad competition was held in early March. Lauren competed at the B level (Jr. High) on her second-string team. She primarily focused on Rocks and Minerals this year. She was expected to be able to identify and answer questions about 75 different minerals and rocks for the test.

Here's a picture of her showing Tim how she could name all the samples we had been studying:

Our JV team didn't have enough team members to study all the events, and sometimes we paired students up with a partner that was mostly there for moral support. Lauren had a friend who hadn't studied rocks help her with that event, and then she helped him during the Microbes event he had studied for. The Microbes event is technically a lab event so they had to wear safety goggles during the test.

Brennan is competing in four events this year and won three medals at Regional Competition. His hardest event is Materials Science -- a field which combines physics, chemistry, and a bunch of other complicated stuff that I had never heard of. Like Lauren, he's been studying mineral and rock samples for that event. They are allowed to bring in a binder of reference material for that test, but he said there wasn't enough time to look much up. He and his partner had only a few seconds to identify each sample in order to complete each station before their time was up.

For hands-on events, Brennan competed in Robot Arm and Hovercraft.

At Regionals, Brennan placed in Hovercraft (third), Robot Arm (second), and Rocks/Minerals (third). Our team placed first out of thirty-three team in southern Colorado.

This weekend our team will compete in the state competition. It's been a busy few weeks tweaking the build projects and cramming in a bit more studying for the study events. Wish us well!

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