(Posted April 23, 2012)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Students from 70 high schools and middle schools across Pennsylvania will try to get cars powered by mousetraps to move in a straight line, construct an insulated device designed to retain heat and build a ramp and vehicle using gravitational force as a "power source" at the 2012 Pennsylvania Science Olympiad Finals to be held on the campus of Juniata College, Friday, April 27.

This will be the 21st year Juniata College has hosted the state finals.

"After two decades of bringing Science Olympiad to Juniata, we have been able continually recruit talented science students from across Pennsylvania because of this event," says Ron Pauline, professor emeritus of education and Science Olympiad state tournament site director. "We usually have at least one student enroll every year that first became familiar with Juniata when competing at Science Olympiad."

The students will compete 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 Hall.

The 2012 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 27 state finals will go on to compete in the Science Olympiad National Tournament at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Fla., May 18-19.

The Science Olympiad nurtures the ingenuity and inspiration of young science students as teams create a variety of science competitions in 23 events. The events, which can involve individuals or teams, allow students to think quickly and decisively while building an elaborate project.

For example, in Bottle Rocket, teams design and construct two rockets that compete to stay aloft for the greatest amount of time. Storm the Castle uses a falling counterweight to launch an object as far and as accurately as possible. Other events include Mousetrap Vehicle, where students construct a mini-car out of a common mousetrap, and Towers, where students design and build a tower of the lightest material that can support the greatest amount of weight.

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 April Feagley at feaglea@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.