Kutztown University hosted the 2019 Berks County Science Olympiad on Jan. 10, with Exeter Township Senior High School winning 1st Place Overall Team and Fleetwood Area High School winning 2nd Place Overall Team, followed by Central York in 3rd and West Chester East in 4th.
“Students are expanding their knowledge in various areas of science that may not be part of a traditional science curriculum,” said Science Olympiad Coach Lowell Keebler, Exeter Senior High Science Department Head and instructor of Earth Sciences & Astronomy. “Students gain valuable experience in the methods of science and engineering.”
Nearly 350 students from 15 schools participated. The high schools participating in the Berks competition included Antietam, Bayard Rustin (West Chester), Boyertown, Central York, Exeter Township, Fleetwood, Governor Mifflin, Kutztown, Reading, Schuylkill Valley, Sun Valley (Aston), Twin Valley, East High School (West Chester), Wilson and Wyomissing.
“Science Olympiad has 23 events that cover topics in biology, chemistry, earth sciences, physics, engineering and the process of science. It is hard for me to pick a particular event that stands out among the others, since they are all fascinating in their own way,” said Keebler.
Local results in the individual events include the following:
Exeter won 1st in Astronomy, 2nd in Boomilever, 2nd place in Circuit Lab, 2nd place in Code Busters, 1st place in Dynamic Planet, 3rd place in Experimental Design, 2nd place in Forensics, 2nd place in Fossils, 1st in Geologic Mapping, 1st place in Mission Possible, 3rd place in Mousetrap Vehicle, 1st in Sounds of Music, and 3rd place in Water Quality.
Boyertown won 1st in Boomilever, 1st in Fossils, 2nd place in Geologic Mapping, and 1st in Write It Do It.
Kutztown won 1st in Experimental Design, 3rd place in Fermi Questions, 3rd place in Forensics, 1st in Mousetrap Vehicle, 2nd place in Protein Modeling, 2nd place in Sounds of Music, 1st place in Water Quality, and 2nd place in Wright Stuff.
Fleetwood won 2nd place in Anatomy and Physiology, 3rd place in Astronomy, 3rd in Boomilever, 3rd place in Sounds of Music, 2nd place in Water Quality, and 3rd place in Wright Stuff.
Twin Valley won 1st place in Chemistry Lab, 3rd Place in Code Busters and 2nd place in Herpetology.
Schuylkill Valley won 3rd place in Circuit Lab, 2nd Place in Disease Detectives, 3rd place in Herpetology, 2nd place in Thermodynamics
“This competition has a way of pushing students to their limits,” said Keebler. “The rules and subject matter for each event are very specific and challenging. In one event, the students are building a Rube-Goldberg device. But unlike other devices, it must be built within the confines of a certain area, and the energy transfer mechanisms are defined and required according to specification. This is an example of how the competition is quite demanding.”
In its 35th year, the Science Olympiad is an international nonprofit organization devoted to improving the quality of K-12 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.
“This competition (in Berks) is an invitational event and serves as a precursor to the Central Eastern Regional Science Olympiad held at Kutztown University, on March 14,” said Keebler.
The Olympiad is organized by schools at the junior high and senior high levels. Each school sends one team to compete in a variety of events. High school teachers serve as the coaches, judges and coordinators.
Olympiad competitions are conducted at four levels — invitational, regional, state, and national. The invitational competition is designed to prepare students for regional competition. No teams are eliminated in the local competition.
For more information, visit the International Science Olympiad website at http://www.soinc.org/.