February 25, 2011 4:00 PM
When Pikeville College hosts the 2011 Regional Science Olympiad on Saturday, March 5, there won’t be any long-distance runners, Alpine skiers or gymnasts. The competition will feature categories like “Junkyard Challenge,” “Microbe Mission,” “Disease Detectives” and “Storm the Castle.”
Nearly 300 middle and high school students will converge on the campus to compete in 23 different events. Science Olympiad tournaments are academic interscholastic competitions for middle and high school students consisting of a series of team events that students prepare for during the year. These challenging and motivational events are well-balanced between the various science disciplines of biology, earth science, chemistry, physics and technology/engineering. Popular board games, TV shows and athletic games provide the format for some of these competitions.
“This is the fifth year Pikeville College has played host to the Regional Science Olympiad Competition. For those that participate, the Science Olympiad helps to fortify a love for science. It has the ability to open a student’s eyes to the world of scientific investigation and discovery,” said Robert Arts, Ph.D., professor of education and physics and Olympiad director. “And for many, the Science Olympiad is one of the most meaningful and fun activities that they will participate in during their time in middle or high school. For the participants, it can bring a new perspective to the world around them, build lasting friendships, and incite fond memories that can last a lifetime.”
Teams that do well at the regional level are invited to participate at the state tournament at Western Kentucky University in April and may even continue on to the national competition at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in May.
Now in its 27th year, the Science Olympiad is an international non-profit organization devoted to improving the quality of science education, creating a passion for learning science and providing recognition for outstanding achievement in science education by both students and teachers. These goals are accomplished through classroom activities, research, professional development workshops and the encouragement of intramural, district, regional, state, national and international tournaments. There are more than 14,000 K-12 schools participating from all 50 states, Canada and other countries.