By Letta Meyer
Milpitas High School Chemistry Teacher, Science Olympiad Coach
The 2016-17 Science Olympiad season has been a busy and successful one. Science Olympiad is an Olympic style competition where a team of 15 students competes with partners in 23 different science oriented events. The top finishers in an event receive medals. Additionally, the placement in each event contributes to an overall team score. Medals are also given to the top teams as well.
These events fit into two basic categories, building or knowledge, with some events being a blend of the two. In a building event, students are required to build a device to a detailed specification that accomplishes a task. For instance, in Electric Vehicle students design and build a car completely powered by electricity that must travel a specific distance revealed at the competition. Knowledge events have the students study a specific subject area at a higher level than their typical grade level and take a test to demonstrate their knowledge. For example, for the Invasive Species event students learn about different species that have invaded a natural environment and changed it. In order to prepare to compete and different competitions, students meet after school several days a week and several Saturday mornings each month. They spend hours of intense studying, building, and testing to be ready to compete.
Currently in Santa Clara County there is a High School and a Middle School Division. MHS has been competing in our very competitive region for more than 10 years. The MHS students have been reaching out to Russell and Rancho middle schools over the past two years and this year we had teams from each of those schools also compete at the Regional Competition held on March 18 at San Jose City College. At that competition the MHS Blue Team (similar to a varsity team in sports) placed in the top five at the Regional Competition, earning a spot in the State Tournament.
The Northern California State Science Olympiad Tournament was held on April 1 at California State University at Stanislaus in Turlock, California. The team of 15 students shown below competed beautifully in all their events. The team tied for 10th place overall. We also placed in the top five in these events:
Special thanks to the coaches and parents that make this happen for all the students!