Experimental Learning: Juniata Hosts State Finals for Science Olympiad

(Posted April 15, 2008)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Students from 70 high schools and middle schools in Pennsylvania will try to coax a robot into scooping up objects, watch robots circumnavigate an obstacle course and investigate a crime scene at the 2008 Pennsylvania Science Olympiad Finals to be held on the campus of Juniata College, Friday, April 25.

This will be the 17th year Juniata College has hosted the state finals.

"Science Olympiad gives students across Pennsylvania a chance to see how Juniata's science facilities are the equal of any college in the state," says Ron Pauline, associate professor emeritus of education and Science Olympiad state tournament site director. "We love to host the Science Olympiad because it gives faculty, students and staff a chance to work with some of the best science students."

The students will take part in a variety of science projects across campus at sites such as the von Liebig Center for Science, Knox Stadium, the Kennedy Sports and Recreation Center and the lawn behind Ellis College Center.

The 2008 Science Olympiad begins at 8:30 a.m. and continues throughout the day, ending with an awards ceremony at approximately 4:15 p.m. in the sport's center's main gym. More than 1,000 students will compete.

Competitors are separated into two divisions: Division B (grades 6-9) and Division C (grades 9-12).

Teams attending the state finals at Juniata qualified by finishing first or second at one of six regional competitions held in March. Teams finishing first or second in the April 25 state finals will go on to compete in the Science Olympiad National Tournament at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., May 30-31.

The Science Olympiad brings out the talents, resourcefulness and skills of young scientists as teams create different science projects for competition in 23 events. The events, which can involve individuals or teams, allow students to think creatively while building an elaborate project.

For example, in Robot Ramble, where students develop a robot that will pick up objects and place them in a container. Other events include Trajectory, where students design and build a catapault that throws a cloth object into one of two targets, and Circuit Lab, where participants compete in activities centered around direct current electrical circuits..

Other events test knowledge and skills in astronomy, biology, chemistry, computer science, earth science, and physics.

Science Olympiad is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of science education, increasing student interest in science and recognizing outstanding achievements in science education.

For more information on the Science Olympiad, visit the Science Olympiad Web site: Juniata College also has a Web site dedicated to the event at http://projects.juniata.edu/scioly/.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.