Students test their knowledge at regional Science Olympiad
Published 10:33 am Monday, February 15, 2016
Science-inspired students took over Ellis Middle School on Saturday morning for the Science Olympiad tournament.
Seventh- and eighth-grade students competed in building and testing events in subjects ranging from life science to physics.
“They really are self-motivated,” co-coach Mary Kruger said. “It’s a great opportunity for kids wanting to be in the science career.”
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Kruger and co-coach Travis Wayne have worked with their team of 12 Ellis students since they received the rule book and organized teams in November. They practiced more in January, leading up to the event. Kruger teaches seventh-grade life science, and Wayne teaches eighth-grade earth science.
Most teams consisted of two members. A few teams built bridges, roller coasters and scrambler carts while others tested wind power and air trajectory, among many other events.
Seventh-grader Zach Smith built a scrambler cart for the Olympiad. Scrambler is an event where a cart is lever propelled down a runway towards a wall. The cart must get as close to the wall as it can and stop before it hits the wall and “scrambles” the egg.
Smith said it took a few days to build his device with the help of his dad and uncle and he ran a lot of trial and errors.
“I like engineering, building and designing,” he said. “I want to be an engineer who designs buildings.”
Smith ran two tests of his cart for the judge. The first time, his cart was close to the wall, but veered right out of the track. After a few adjustments for the second run, the cart stayed straight down the runway and stopped before it hit the wall.
Smith took first place in that event, earning one point because in the Olympiad, a low score wins.
Another event included building Write It Do It, where one team member writes building instructions and the other team member must build the object according to those directions. Two Hormel Institute scientists, Nina Bently and Doug Krant, created and oversaw that event.
First, second, third and fourth place awards were given out to individual students and an overall trophy was given to the team with most points.
All 10 of the middle school teams that competed Saturday will move onto the state competition at St. Olaf College on March 12.
The high school science team also competed at regionals in Rochester.
—Ellis took seventh place out of 10 southeast Minnesota schools. They had 71 points total. Coach Travis Wayne said between fourth, fifth and sixth place, the scores were within 10 points of Ellis. The first place team earned 38 points.
—Zach Smith took first in the scrambler event. Eric Yang took second in fossils. Angel Vu and Katherine Schramek took fourth in food science. Ava Jozaag and Natalie Haynes took fourth in Write It Do It. Other team members earned fifth, seventh and ninth place awards.