Trisha Hande

Staff Reporter

3 February, 2023

Competitions, team-work, community, experiments, science, STEM, creativity-all components of  the Science Olympiad club. The Science Olympiad is a national tournament where students from different schools compete with each other throughout various regional, state, and national levels. During these competitions, students are expected to showcase their knowledge throughout experiments and teamwork. Some events are local and others take place in different cities or online, Mr. Piche, one of the sponsors of the team, informed.

The competitions usually begin from seven to eight in the morning and can lead up until three to four in the afternoon. Additionally, an awards ceremony takes place afterwards. In total, this can add up to about 12 hours. Competitions began in early January and regionals are expected to run sometime into March, Mr. Piche explains.

From anatomy to experimental design to chemistry, there is quite an abundance of knowledge tested in these tournaments. During the tournaments, students may have to work together and create things, compete under pressure, complete labs, be tested solo, and more. An example of one of the teamwork events is bridge. Bridge is when a team members have to create a structurally sound bridge out of certain materials that meets the given criteria.

Atholton’s team, sponsored by Mr. Piche and Mr. Cramer  have been working hard to prepare for their upcoming competitions, since September 2022.  Their first competition of the season was January 7th and the upcoming one being at Princeton University-where multiple Howard county high schools will attend. They were also preparing for a UMD invitational, which occurred the weekend of the 22nd. According to Mr.Piche, the team is composed of a good mix of all grades. 

When asked about her opinions regarding the next competition, Michelle Kim, a junior and two year member of the team said, “I am pretty relaxed about this upcoming competition because we’ve had a sufficient amount of time to study the material and I’ve been to enough competitions to know the gist of how competitions run.” This club meets every Tuesday in rooms A103 and B123 and members also have, “Frequent study sessions and check-ins to see how preparations are going.” Michelle noted.

During their meetings,  the group of about 20-25 students gathered and planned the agenda for the day, they then split into different groups to cover and work on different topics. This includes, practicing chemistry labs, experimental design, categories such as rocks and minerals and again, bridge. After that, they rotated groups and topics, so everybody could experience the different categories, and each student would be well-rounded in all the knowledge. Other students split up into groups to revise any other material.

Mr Piche recommended the club to, “Any student who has really any interest in science and wants to put in work and have fun with it. There’s a lot of work that goes into it, but there is a lot of variety in the events and the opportunities on what they can do.” So, If you are a hard-working student who loves science, perhaps you should give this club a try next year. Finally, good luck to the Atholton team and we wish you the best for your upcoming competitions!

Posted by trishahande

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