Posts Tagged With: Science Olympiad

Falcons Fly High at Science Olympiad Practice Invitational

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.

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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.

Categories: Allendale High School, Allendale Middle School | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Allendale Middle & High School Science Olympiad Teams Go To State

The students and coaches involved in Science Olympiad are still reveling in the success they found at this year’s Regional and State Science Olympiad Competitions, and for good reason!

With the high school grabbing 21st in the state and the middle school placing 22nd in the state (up from 42nd last year!), Allendale continues to climb into the spotlight by exhibiting excellence in science application, creativity, and quick thinking.

Allendale High School Science Olympiad Team Members with Coach Brethauer

At the regionals meet in early spring, students went head-to-head against participating teams from both Kent and Ottawa counties. With hard-hitting competition from schools like Grand Haven and Grand Rapids Christian High School, Allendale High School pushed through a tough field to finish 6th out of 24 teams!

Once Regionals wrapped up, the high school team progressed to the State Science Olympiad Competition where the forestry and optics groups medaled. We are so proud that our high school team battled with 48 of the best schools in the state and left with a 21st-place overall finish!

Seniors Cody Bekkering & Michael Albachten are neighbors, classmates, and teammates.

Cody Bekkering had only positives to share from his time on the high school team. “I find that Science Olympiad is a nice extension of what I do in my normal everyday life. I appreciate being able to apply what I’ve learned in biology, physics, and chemistry to the projects and events we work on here.” Cody plans to attend MSU in the fall to study math and chemistry; he dreams of pursuing a research position after attaining his degree.

Similarly, Michael Albachten has enjoyed the challenge of Science Olympiad and looks forward to studying both geology and biology at Grand Valley State University next year. His diligence in the classroom has spurred him to pursue several AP classes, so he’ll be leaving APS with 18 college credits to his name! Having won 1st place at Regionals with his protein model, Michael desires to return to the high school as a team mentor even after graduation.

Michael Albachten explains his protein model.

Allendale Middle School Science Olympiad students have much to celebrate, as well! Their 8th place finish in the region is notable especially when considering that over 50 area middle schools competed at the regional level! This score secured a spot at the state competition where they went on to place 22nd out of 48 teams!

Allendale Middle School Science Olympiad Team Members with Coach Erdmans

Erin Sickrey’s “Write It, Do It” placed 5th at the State Competition and was the only event to medal. Her description of the challenge is reminiscent of the now-famous Apollo 13 movie scene where astronauts in space had to build a life-saving device by following the hurried directions of NASA officials on the ground.

In the “Write It, Do It” challenge, Erin had roughly 25 minutes to look at an object and describe in words only (no drawings!) how it looked and how it was constructed. At the buzzer, another team member had to take a bucket of supplies and re-create the item exactly.

That’s right: build the same item simply by reading the instructions written down! Very difficult!

Erin Sickrey earned 5th place at the State Competition for the “Write it, Do it” event.

For diligence, effort, sportsmanship, and for attaining personal and team bests, we applaud the students who so wonderfully represented Allendale this spring! Congratulations!

Categories: Students in the Spotlight!, The Sciences at APS | Tags: | 2 Comments

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