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
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 NOAA.gov web
site. Fluency in the use of search engines was key to a high
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
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
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.