Athens to host Science Olympiad
Athens Area High School Science Olympiad will today host the Twin Tiers Science Olympiad Invitational.
This is Athens Area School District's eighth year hosting the Twin Tiers Science Olympiad Invitational for Division C teams. The Wildcats will host 36 teams representing 21 schools from Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, New Hampshire, and Virginia. Invitational Tournaments allow Science Olympiad teams to participate in "practice" tournaments that do not impact regional or state advancement or rankings. Across the country, many middle and high schools host these events to give teams a chance to perfect their devices, get a feel for the difficulty level of tests and labs, and see a real tournament in action. Just the experience of participating can provide the coaches and students a better understanding of design aspects and team interactions. Every little bit of experience helps teams toward their goals of obtaining a medal in a particular event.
For the past 29 years, Science Olympiad has led a revolution in science education. What began as a grassroots assembly of science teachers is now one of the premiere science competitions in the nation, providing rigorous, standards-based challenges to more than 5,700 teams in 48 states. The Science Olympiad is modeled after successful Science Olympiad tournaments held in Delaware and Michigan that were introduced by Dr. Gerard J. Putz, Regional Science Center Director, Macomb Intermediate School District in Michigan and Jack Cairns, Science Supervisor, Delaware Department of Public Instruction.
Science Olympiad's ever-changing event lineup provides a variety of career choices and exposure to practicing scientists and mentors. One of Science Olympiad's main goals is to bring recognition to academic excellence that is normally reserved for athletes. Many alumni consider Science Olympiad the most important and influential activity they had participated in during their middle school and high school years. Science Olympiad focuses on cooperation, teamwork, while students practice toward an objective and improve skills through competition. Making learning exciting through motivational activities is an essential ingredient in achieving academic excellence.
Grade levels are divided into different divisions based on National standards. Division B includes students in grades six through nine while Division C encompasses grades nine through twelve. Athletic-style medals are given for each event. In addition, championship trophies are awarded to the Division B and C school teams compiling the most total points during the Science Olympiad tournament. A team may participate in one or all of the events within its division.
Athens Area School District began its Science Olympiad program 10 years ago in 2003. They did not make it to the state level that year, but they have been every year since. They have, in fact, placed first in our region for the past seven years and have been invited to the State Tournament for the past nine years. They have won medals at States every year they have been invited and have even placed first in several events at this level over the years. Last year in the 2012 season, Athens was ranked fifth in the state at this competition and was third in the state for the 2011 season; only one place away from competing at Nationals.
This academic year, Athens C Division team has approximately 30 students from grades 9 through 12 participating in Science Olympiad events. Students have the opportunity to choose which events from the National list of categories and events that interest and challenge them to think beyond the usual classroom scope. Topic categories for 2013 include the areas of Life, Personal & Social Sciences, Earth & Space Science, Physical Science & Chemistry, Technology & Engineering, and Inquiry & Science of Nature. Students have been working on team projects from gravity powered vehicles, elastic launch gliders, balsa wood boomilevers and thermodynamic boxes to anatomy & physiology, public health and the human impact on Earth.
In addition to hosting their Invitational the Division C team of young scientists competed last weekend at the National Invitational at Wright State University near Dayton, OH, achieving a 12th place overall in competition. The team brought home awards in the following events: second place in Rocks & Minerals, thir in Disease Detective, fifth in Experimental Design, fifth in Elastic Launch Glider, sixth place in Write It, Do It, sixth in Designer Genes, and eighth in Robotic Arm. The will also be traveling to the Tiger Invitational Science Olympiad Invitational on Feb. 9 (Northwestern Lehigh HS). Regionals are scheduled for March at Penn State Wilkes-Barre Campus. From there the team hopes to move on to the PA State Tournament in April at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa.