How successful would you be if you were responsible for maneuvering a small car with an egg attached to its front, for an undetermined distance, then parking it next to a wall… without cracking the egg?
Or bungee dropping a weighted, plastic water bottle in the attempt to lower it as close to the ground as possible without having it touch?
Students attempting these feats lie at the heart of Science Olympiad.
Rotating between test-taking stations and activities called “constructions,” hundreds of Science Olympians from 15 area schools spent this past Saturday, Feb. 22, at Allendale High School and Middle School working on events with fundamentals based in biology, chemistry, physics and earth science. With about 1200 people in attendance, including event coaches, supervisors and parents, this practice invitational was preparation for the March 29 Regionals which will take place at GVSU.
High School coach Brian Brethauer, in his 24th year in this role, praises Science Olympiad for what it offers students:
“This is a great program and from a science standpoint, this is one of the best programs out there. It covers all areas, any kid can participate and there’s a lot of cool stuff going on. A lot of these kids go on to college, a lot of them go into science because of this, a lot of them come back and help coach — and I want people to be aware that this goes one.”
For the past several years the invitational has been directed by Mrs. Candice Cooper-Greinke, who has been involved since her own children participated, and her husband Paul. The two are passionate about the opportunity that Science Olympiad provides students who may not find the field, court or pool to be a good fit.
“The Science Olympiad program is a really great way for kids who aren’t necessarily sports-oriented to have an extracurricular activity they can participate in. It’s really fun and educational,” Candice said.
This years’ constructions at the invitational were Scrambler, Elastic Launch Glider, Boomilever, Magnetic Levitation Vehicle Test, Bungee Drop and Mission Possible. And with the possibility of state competition, and then nationals, these students know that scholarship money could be on the line, especially for engineering events.
“Science Olympiad provides opportunities for every kind of kid — from the brightest academically to the kids that are talented with hands-on skills. It’s a good chance for them to become state champions at something,” Paul added.
If you’d like to become involved in this exciting activity, the Falcon Science Olympiad team is in need of event coaches in the fields of engineering, medicine, machination and geology. Please contact Dave Erdmans at the middle school or Brian Brethauer at the high school for more information.