16 May 2023
You walk into room A103 and see students of all grades working on their computers, discussing event details with their partners, making binders of information and studying their events. The Science Olympiad Club has all of these components and is perfect for people who enjoy learning about science and STEM related activities.
Science Olympiad is a nationwide program that is offered at high schools in all 50 states where students participate in various scientific activities and test their knowledge in competitions against teams in Maryland and other states. In each competition, there are 23 events that fall into one of three categories: study events, lab events, and build events.
This club is perfect for anyone who is eager to learn more about science and explore new areas of science unknown to them. “I would recommend this club to anyone who has an interest in extending their knowledge in science and engineering related concepts in an enjoyable way,” Mr. Piche said.
Study events are all test based events where students go in pairs and test their understanding of various topics. “Forestry” is an example of a study event where students study and make a binder/cheat sheet about trees and then you enter a room and take a test about trees.
Lab events are where students are tested on a topic and then they build something with that topic. “Write It, Do It” is an example of this. Students in this event have one person who has 25 minutes to write down instructions about something their partner needs to build. After 25 minutes, their partner comes in and builds the object with the instructions written and they have 20 minutes to do so. “Experimental Design” is a lab event where students get materials to conduct their own experiment.
Build events are where students build objects such as cars, planes, and bridges and their object has to meet a certain criteria in order to get points. In this event, students build a bridge that can withstand a certain amount of weight without breaking. “Scrambler” is an example of a build event, where students build a car and it must go a certain distance with an egg on it. While the car is going the distance, there is a wall at the end and students must make sure the car gets the closest to the wall without the egg breaking.
During these competitions, students are expected to showcase everything they have learned in their certain event and show off their knowledge through experiments. Atholton freshman Maya Green said, “Competitions to me are fun but challenging at the same time. The stress levels leading up to them tend to be high sometimes, but the results that follow are worth it.”
Atholton qualified for the state competition at regionals. The state meet was held April 22nd and Atholton’s team placed ninth overall with their top scoring events being fourth in “Botany,” second in “Write It, Do It,” and first in “Scrambler.”
Some members had different thoughts on which competition was the most difficult for them. Freshman Carissa Hyun said “For one of my events at BirdSO, [Bird Science Olympiad] I did not have a partner to work with so that added onto my difficulties with the test.” Hyun, along with most of the other members, found that the Fairfax competition was hard.
Mr. Piche explained that the placements depend on what the competition is. Some competitions like Howard County local competitions could be easier than competitions outside of the state, like the competition that was held at Princeton University. Piche explained, “States for example, will have only the top teams from the two Maryland regions competing, so it is more difficult to place well.”
The competitions aren’t always stressful and some students find fun in them throughout all the events and other things going on. Atholton senior Victoria Tsai stated, “They’re super chill, and everyone has fun laughing about some of the random questions that show up! It’s also nice to talk to people from other schools and see how their builds differ from ours.”
Science Olympiad is a fantastic opportunity for students interested in expanding their knowledge in science. Hyun sums it up: “I am looking forward to learning more about the sciences, meeting more people who are just as eager to learn, and hanging out with my wonderful teammates.”