C-S sends Science Olympians to State
By Annette Tait
What do you call a competition that pits contestants’ knowledge, problem-solving and critical-thinking skills, and ability to function under pressure against a ticking clock? The answer is: The annual Science Olympiad.
Center-Stanton high school and junior high students recently demonstrated their knowledge of life, personal and social science; Earth and space science; physical science and chemistry; technology and engineering; and inquiry and nature of science during the Bismarck Regional Science Olympiad, with two of the three teams earning the right to compete at the state competition April 16 in Fargo. All told, members of the two Division C teams – for ninth through 12th grade students – earned two first place honors, five second places, three third places, four fourth places, seven fifth place showings, and five sixth places. The Division B team, for grades six through nine, earned two second, one third, one fifth, and four sixth place honors in their events.
“It was a great experience -- the hard work of students definitely paid off,” CSHS Science Instructor and Science Club Advisor Brook Boeshans said. “It was fun to see the students getting rewarded for their work.”
Danny Kraft earned first place honors in two events, which he shared with teammates Garrett Mosbrucker, “Game On,” and Macauley Haag, Hydrogeology. In Game On, Kraft had less than an hour to design and build an original computer game in “Scratch” that incorporated a theme provided by the event supervisor, with Mosbrucker providing feedback as his beta-tester. Scratch is a free programming language that can be used to create games, interactive stories, and animations with computer code.
In the Hydrogeology event, Kraft and Haag manipulated a groundwater computer model, answered questions about groundwater concepts, and evaluated solutions -- based on hydrogeological evidence -- to reduce the effects of a human population on groundwater.
Some of the other tests of knowledge and skills students faced included “Bridge Building,” where teams designed and built the lightest bridge possible while still achieving the highest structural efficiency for its span; “Disease Detectives,” which required students to use investigative skills in the scientific study of disease, injury, health, and disability in populations or groups of people with a focus on population growth; and “Electric Vehicle,” where students designed, built, and tested a vehicle that uses electrical energy as its sole means of propulsion to travel as quickly as possible and stop close to a target point.
C-S students also competed in “Scrambler,” where competitors designed, built and tested a mechanical device that used the energy from a falling mass to transport an egg along a track as quickly as possible and stop as close to the center of a terminal barrier without breaking the egg; and “Write It/Do It,” which tested technical writing skills by having one team member write a description of a contraption, which the other team member later attempted to recreate using only the description written by his or her partner.