Science Olympiad Season

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Anna Hulstedt, Reporter

The Belvidere North Science Olympiad team has started out their season strong, taking seventh place at the Auburn Invitational and 14th place at Crystal Lake this past weekend. With so many students participating, Belvidere North now takes a red team and a blue team to compete at the invitationals.

     Science Olympiad began back in first semester and the state competition will be at the end of April at the University of Illinois. Science Olympiad provides plenty of opportunities to explore various topics in science. Students generally work in pairs, and practice for their events throughout the school week. Some of the events include Experimental Design, Forensics, Astronomy, Rocks and Minerals, Materials Science, Write it Do it, Hovercraft, and more. Some of the events are more test-based, while other “build events” challenge students to build certain creations and show them at the meets.

     This Saturday, the Science Olympiad team had a great day, considering that they were competing with teams that typically make it to nationals. Medalists included Grazi Galuzzo, LoriAnne Flaherty, Maisy Rathbun, Xiu Chen, Adam Smith, and Bridget Bunt.

     “I love the fact that we get to explore different fields in science and that our scientific knowledge both is celebrated and rewarded. And of course, we’re hoping to head to state again this year,” said Maisy Rathbun (‘20).

     Rathbun competes in the Ecology, Dynamic Planet, Experimental Design, and Materials Science events. Her favorite is ecology, where students take a test with a partner about ecology. Throughout the week during practice, she researches more about the environment, which is a topic that caught her interest, thanks to Science Olympiad.

For those interested in a science career and are not involved in a winter sport, Science Olympiad provides a cool opportunity to look into science careers and expand science knowledge that might not be explored as in-depth in the classroom.

     Another event is Write it-Do it. This event is for a team of two, with one person being the writer and the other being the doer. Each team is given a product/figurine (usually legos, knex, or tinker toys) that is already put together. The writer is given 25 minutes to write very specific instructions for how that product is to be put together. The doer is given the pieces and then has 20 minutes to follow the directions without consulting the writer. Students are scored for the number of correct connections, for example, one point for presence, one for location, and one for orientation.

     “Experimental Design is my favorite because you never know what it’s going to be about. You will receive a prompt and then you have to create an experiment that matches the prompt. It’s new every time. The team would like to make it to state – like we did last year. Hopefully, we can get some medals down there as well,” said Molly Carrick (‘19).

     Hovercraft provides a unique engineering challenge for Science Olympiad students. Students work on building  a hovercraft outside of the competitions. At the invitationals, they “show” their creation, and are scored based on how it works, the amount of weight it can hold, and how fast it can go.

“Build events are very hands-on and allows students to learn about multiple areas of science,” said Sophie Psaltis (‘20), who is in the hovercraft event.

     Their next meet will be on Saturday, February 3 at Huntley High School. The team is excited for their upcoming meets and they are looking forward to the opportunity to go to state.