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FHS, BHS to compete in ‘Olympiad’

Farragut and Bearden high schools will go head-to-head Saturday, Feb. 28, but there will be no ball of any kind involved.

Instead, 15 students from each school will join other area high schools at the Science Olympiad held at Tennessee Wesleayn College in Athens.

Last year, FHS took first-place while BHS followed at a close second. Both teams went on to compete in the national competition held at The University of Tennessee.

The competition will come hot on the heels of the Department of Energy Science Bowl Saturday, Feb. 21, at Pellissippi State Technical Community College.

Although may of the students competing in the Science Bowl also will compete in Science Olympiad, FHS science teacher and Science Club sponsor Kristin Baksa said, “The beauty of Science Olympiad is you can involve more students.

“There are 23 different events that the students enter. We can take up to 15 students. They are assigned an event ahead of time and they go down there and compete,” she added.

Science Olympiad is not structured the same as a bowl-type competition.

BHS science teacher and club sponsor Sarah Meuller said, “The Science Olympiad Program is a national non-profit organization. It promotes accelerated science education. It is a competition that consists of 23 different events ranging anywhere from biological sciences to astronomy and physics and chemistry. It also encompasses problem solving skills and engineering and technical thought and writing.”

The events for the competition are determined each May following the national competition and vary each year.

“The rules are set by a national committee and once you pay your entry fee those rules are sent to you along with event descriptions,” Mueller said.

“The rules of the building events leave room for imagination and design on the kids part. One of the events for the high school this year is ‘Elevated Bridge.’

“They are designing a bridge out of balsa wood, typically, that has to support a certain amount of weight. The bridges are tested and they have a set criteria they follow in judging such as, did they hold all of the mass that was set forward, did they break, at which point did they break, and then they are rated accordingly.

“Some of them are lab-oriented events. This year there is a forensic event where students will be given a scenario for a crime-scene investigation and they will have to solve the crime scene and write the report to turn in as their final product,” Mueller added.

“Our goal is to enter every single event. That gives you a better chance, and of course, you can involve more students,” Baksa said.


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