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Farragut scholars earn spot

Science scholars from Farragut High School recently placed 2nd in the Regional Science Olympiad, earning them a spot in the state competition.

Olympiad teams consist of 15 players with only seven seniors allowed per team.

Amanda Wehner, FHS science teacher and the team’s co-sponsor, said, “There are [23] different activities and each activity can have a certain number of people participating, so at any time you may have four different activities that your team is doing.

“You might have a pair of people doing astronomy while a pair of people is doing a chemistry lab and a pair of people doing experimental design.

“You get points based on how well each pair of kids does on that activity, so if there are six teams competing, each team is going to send a pair of kids to that activity and then you get a first-, second- and third-place based on how you do for each activity.

“You get one point for first-place, two points for second-place and three points for third-place and so on. What you want is to have the lowest number of points at the end. So if you get all first-places, you would only have [23] points at the end,” she added.

Some activities require students to bring previously assembled projects to the competition.

Evan, who is the team’s professed “building guy,” participated in two such events, the electric car competition and the bridge building competition.

“I helped build this elevated bridge, which was supposed to hold up to 15 kilograms and be the lightest — the ratio between the weight held and the actual weight of the bridge give you your points.

“I also did the electric vehicle. It’s a car driven by batteries and a motor that will go a certain distance and then stop and you have to know how much time that is going to take,” Evan said.

His co-builder on the electric car, Russell Graves, said the electric car was the same car that won second-place at the state competition last year.

“We figured it would probably do well again, and it did, we just had to redo the chassis. But we lost to the same team as last year,” Russell said.

Senior Hari Ganesan participated in an event called “Picture This,” with Russell.

“It is a really strange event. It is kind of like Pictionary but with science terms. If they give you troposphere you have to draw, like the earth or something. If they give you D-N-A then you draw a double helix,” he said.

It is not mandatory for students to participate in all 23 events, but non-participation is factored into the scoring.

The team also competed in some events that were new for them this year, such as “Technical Problem Solving” and “It’s About Time.”

“I participated in 'It's About Time.’ We had to build something that we could keep time up to about 21 seconds. Then we would have had to have taken a test … but I kind of messed that one up,” Evan said.

“Technical Problem Solving,” which Hari competed in with senior Dennis Meng, combined several skills.

“It combined a lot of elements in the lab. You had to know all of your chemistry and all you physics,” Hari said.

“There was no cash prize for this competition but we got a trophy and we get to move on to the state competition,” Wehner said.


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