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Swifter, Higher, Smarter

A new kind of olympics is engaging Middle School students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math

Eighth grade student Matthew Sedgass flew his balsa wood glider to a fourth place finish at the Anthony Science Olympiad Invitational in Cypress, Texas.

Photo by Dana Sedgass

Eighth grade student Matthew Sedgass flew his balsa wood glider to a fourth place finish at the Anthony Science Olympiad Invitational in Cypress, Texas.

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This past summer, the world watched as star athletes from all around the world competed in the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. But this school year, star students are becoming a different kind of Olympian altogether – Science Olympians.

The National Science Foundation states, “In the 21st century, scientific and technological innovations have become increasingly important as we face the benefits and challenges of both globalization and a knowledge-based economy. To succeed in this new information-based and highly technological society, students need to develop their capabilities in STEM to levels much beyond what was considered acceptable in the past.”

One way that students are developing their skills in science, technology, engineering, and math, is through the new Middle School Science Olympiad program. Almost 30 students are participating in the program in its inaugural year.

This past weekend, the Middle School Science Olympiad team went to the Anthony Science Olympiad Invitational in Cypress, Texas. They left Friday afternoon and traveled four hours to Anthony Middle School, where the competition was held.

On Saturday, the students competed for several hours in over 20 different categories, including hovercraft building, food science and optics.

Eighth grade student Suzie Brewer participated in the Food Science, Ecology, Road Scholar and We Got Your Number competitions. She said, “My favorite part was competing in the We Got Your Number category, because it was all about math, which I love.”

The top team finisher was Matthew Sedgass, who finished fourth in the Write Stuff competition. He built a glider plane out of balsa wood and earned points for the time it stayed in the air.

Students took valuable life lessons from the competition. Suzie said, “I learned that even though you work hard, it is okay to lose, because the only way to get better is to practice.” Although no medals were won, the team finished 16th out of 34 teams in their very first competition.

The team is led by Seventh grade Science teacher Tamara Addis, who has worked diligently coaching the students and coordinating events. She said, “They did awesome for their first competition and learned from the experience.”

This experience will be valuable as they head into two competitions in February, one of which is the State qualifier.

 

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