This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Regional Science Olympiad 2011

On Saturday SJC hosted the regional Science Olympiad. (I would not have known about the event if one of my former colleagues had not mentioned it a couple weeks ago.) I stopped by to take some pictures. Below you see the competition for Storm the Castle. One of my sons enjoyed this event when he was in high school. It allowed him to make a trebuchet. This year the contest was one of accuracy, not distance. The goal was to hurl the projectile into the box.
The competition used space in the Hansen Recreation center as well as rooms in the Science Hall and Core Building. Below you can see budding chemists engaged in some activity in a third-floor lab that was remodeled a few years ago.
I wondered what they were doing with the Tinker Toys. It was a competition called Write It, Do It. The competition has a tinker-toy model that the students are supposed to duplicate. To make it challenging, one student must write a description of the model, using no pictures. The other student takes this description and from it must assemble the tinker toys as best he or she can based only on the written description from the other student.
Below two students are getting ready for a competition called Sound of Music. It does not seem that the results of this one counted for the overall results. I think the students had to construct their own instruments.
The most impressive exhibition I saw was in the helicopter competition. The helicopters were powered by rubber bands. This little machine, with propellers at both ends, slowly rose to the top of the Rec Center and then slowly descended back to the floor. The lighting was very poor in the Rec Center, and this is the best picture I would get.
The hands-on events can be fun to watch. Many of the events are answer-questions-on-paper events. For a number of years before the science students took over the Olympiad, I was in charge of the astronomy event. I never came up with any way to make it more than a test, but then it was not a high priority thing for me, so I did not put a lot of time or creativity into it. I did come up with some clever questions, though. (In my younger years I was an enthusiastic amateur astronomer. Does anyone want to buy a six-inch reflecting telescope that has not been used for at least ten years?)

The results of the competition can be found here. In the middle school competition, Rensselaer came in fourth. Fortunately for them, the top four advance to the state competition. Either the high school did not have a team this year or they competed elsewhere. (See comments.)

Lake Central High School had three teams, one varsity and two that were exhibition teams. Looking at the score sheet, it was interesting to see that in some events the B or C team beat the A team.

Each school had its own home room and some of the them were well stocked with food. This was St. Mary's Catholic Community School, (which I thought was a rather strange name).
Ben Franklin Middle School from Valpo not only was well-stocked with food, but won the middle school division. They are a perennial middle school power. (I did not realize that SJC still had chalk boards. I never saw any during the last years I was there.)
But none of the schools could compete with the food that was set out for the SJC student volunteers who worked the event.
The little olive-carrot penguins that Mary Chesak made attracted everyone's interest. She said that they were quite easy to make.
For more pictures, some of which may be from past years, go here and here.

It was a busy weekend. The Carnegie Players had a play (I did not attend), and there was Rock the Ritz food raiser at the Ritz (I did not attend that either, but heard that there was a good attendance and that the people had a good time). Sunday SJC had a choir concert, which also had a good attendance.

When I got home from the concert on Sunday, I was shocked to see some really large hail in the yard. I had not noticed any hail at SJC, so I do not think they got any. The largest hailstones were marble sized.
Comments are welcome.


Ed said...

snickers, cheezits, doritos, and capri-sun, yep, I'm glad I'm not a kid anymore. The penguins look cute however.

Anonymous said...

The High School Competed at the IU Northwest Regional, received 1st place and qualified for the State Tournament. They ddi not attend SJC's Regional due to it being the same day as State Band Solo and Ensemble Contest.

jeffsgal212 said...

My husband commented on the longevity of the hail - it stuck around for a few minutes. We're so used to summertime hail that melts the moment it hits. :)

On a different note, if you'd like to add this year's Chloe K 5K event to your calendar:
May 21 - OAR's (Organization for Autism Research) 5th Annual Chloe K 5K Run/Rock/Ride


Anonymous said...

I have a Science Olympiad middle schooler and a Science Olympiad High schooler and am chaperoning and so proud!! I'm not just proud of my own, but all of them! They work hard and and I love the fact I can be with them!!