Students Apply Knowledge at Science Olympiad
Alma College will host the Science Olympiad Region 15 Tournament on Saturday, March 31. The event gives middle school and high school students from Gratiot, Isabella, Ionia, Montcalm, Mecosta, Newaygo, Muskegon and Oceana counties the chance to apply their knowledge of science to various “Olympic” challenges during the tournament.
“Alma College welcomes the opportunity to host the regional tournament,” says Timothy Keeton, associate professor of biology and regional director of the event. “This is a fantastic community service opportunity for the College, and it is also just plain fun to watch.”
Spectators are welcome; admission is free and open to the public. Team registration begins at 8 a.m., followed by a welcome ceremony and orientation at 8:45 a.m. in the Hogan Center, Art Smith Arena. Events continue throughout the day at multiple campus locations, ending with an awards ceremony at 4:30 p.m. in the Art Smith Arena.
First-year Alma College students can engage in research before they even step foot on campus through the PRISM program.
Twenty-three teams have registered to participate, and with a limit of 15 students for each team, more than 300 students may be in attendance.
“Typically, each team arrives in a school bus, bringing along some parents and teachers, and each team then sets up a ‘camp’ on campus where team members can rest, snack and share stories,” says Keeton. “It is a full-day event.”
This year’s participants include middle school teams from Alma, Ionia, Fruitport, Fulton, Pentwater, Reeths-Puffer, and Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart Academy, and high school teams from Alma, Ashley, Fruitport, Fulton, Greenville, Hesperia, Ionia, Ithaca, Lakeview, Montabella, Ravenna, Reeths-Puffer, Sacred Heart, Shelby, St. Louis and Western Michigan Christian.
The top three middle school teams at the 2011 regional were Sacred Heart Academy, Alma and Reeths-Puffer. The top three high schools last year were Sacred Heart Academy, Shelby and Ionia.
“For spectators, certainly the most fun events are the ones in which the students must build and then test a device, such as a rubber-powered helicopter, a water- and air-powered bottle rocket, mouse-trap powered buggies, and more,” says Keeton.
When students are taking a break from launching rockets, participants and their family members are invited to participate in other activities on campus, such as a chemistry show by the Alma College student chemistry club or watching a movie in the Dow Science Center.
“The middle and high school students learn patience and the values of practice and teamwork,” explains Keeton. “They also hopefully learn a little more science in the meantime!”
Posted: Fri, March 2nd, 2012 at 11:00AM