Science Olympiad 2011 in Pikeville

We got to help with the Science Olympiad again this year.  We have been doing this since 2007 and have worked on several different events.  This year we had the Division B Shock Value event.  In it the teams had to solve problems related to direct current electricity and magnetism.  We set up 10 stations with a problem at each for them to solve.  One involved measuring voltages in a circuit.  Several required them to build circuits where lights would turn off when the button was pushed, two switches both had to be pushed to turn a light on, or another where either of 2 switches would turn one on.

One of the magnetism problems was to make the longest possible chain of magnets, nails and paper clips.  If they realized that strong magnets would induce magnetism in the nails and paper clips they could produce fairly long chains.  Steady hands, trying different configurations, and remembering the best one for the one to be measured produced the highest score.

Another problem was to retrieve the paper clip from the bottom of the clear tube given a battery connected to a button, 2 paper clips, and a meter long wire.  If you build an electromagnet with the 2 paper clips as the core you can easily pull the one from the tube.   Given a compass and a petri dish containing iron filings the boys in the background of the second picture are working to determine the north magnetic pole of 3 different shaped magnets. Not as easy as you may assume when one of them is spherical and another is a bar magnet with a pole in the middle not just on each end.

There were contests in nearby rooms so I was able to get a few pictures there as well.  This was the Road Scholar event, read maps and answer questions based on them.

In Compute This the teams had to answer questions based on information that they found on the web site.  Fluency in the use of search engines was key to a high score here.

I don't know what this event was but the concentration was palpable.

Ornithology was another event.

The students had completed their runs so the event supervisors demonstrated the Optics laser shoot.  Teams had to position two mirrors so that a laser beam would hit a target.  I tried it --- not easy!

Here are the results of the Protein Modeling event.  These complex structures were built by the teams during the competition.  That in addition to a written test and models that they built beforehand and brought to the event determined their score.

The Towers competition requires teams to bring a structure made of wood and glue that met certain engineering specifications.  It was then loaded until it supported 15Kg or it failed.  The weight of the tower and the weight it held determined the winner.

Prizes to be awarded.

In the first picture those students who are standing were on a team that won one or more events in Division B.  The second picture is of winners in Division C.

The schools with the high overall scores got trophies and the very highest got chance to go to the State Science Olympiad.

A list of all the events and some information about them can be found here.

Go to our Science Fun page
Go to our Travels page
Go to our Personal home page
Go to our Community page

E-mail Nancy and Alan
Creative Commons License web site by Alan Kuehner is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at