SAN GABRIEL VALLEY – What is an aurora borealis and itsrelationship to the earth’s magnetic field and the ionization of oxygen andnitrogen? How does the solar system operate? Tough questions? Not to some ofthe students who prepared for a mentally challenging competition over theweekend.
Occidental College hosted the 25th annual Los AngelesRegional Science Olympiad this past Saturday, Feb. 26, featuring bright mindsfrom 112 private and public school students for a rigorous competition thatshowcased bright minds in a fun learning environment.
San Gabriel’s own Washington Elementary School placed firstout of all the elementary schools for the second year in a row. Competitionsare broken up into three divisions: elementary, middle and high school levels,totaling 60 events.
“The kids worked really hard and had a lot of confidence,”said team leader and coach Ross Perry. “It was an amazing experience had by allinvolved.”
“The Science Olympiad is authentic to the scientificendeavor,” said Gary Widdison, co-director of the Los Angeles regionaltournament and director of the Los Angeles County Outdoor Science Schools.”We cannot have a robust science investigation unless we teach kids thatscience is more than just a body of knowledge. It’s about using what we learnto solve problems.”
Competitors Saturday competed in events like the Egg Drop,racing a Pastamobile (racing a course in a specified time) and solvingmysteries in an event called Crime Busters.
Arcadia High School placed first in the “Sound of Music”challenge at the Science Olympiad, where students were required to make andperform on their instruments, using materials such as PVC pipes. Arcadia Highalso placed second in the high school division, bested only by North HollywoodHigh School. Rosemead High placed third.
Rosemead’s Muscatel Middle School won top honors again in2011. In 2009 and 2010, Rosemead was the state Science Olympiad middle schoolchampion, placing 6th in national competition in 2009. It was also the staterunner-up in 2008.
The three winning teams from each division go on to thestate tournament on April 9 at Anaheim’s Canyon High School. Winners of thestate competition then battle other top teams at the 27th annual nationalScience Olympiad at the University of Wisconsin from May 18 to 21.
Nearly 6,000 teams from 49 states compete annually andwinners receive grants of up to $2,000 for their school.
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