Wake Forest University to host N.C. Science Olympiad tournament

Nearly 600 local middle and high school students will gather for the N.C. Science Olympiad tournament at Wake Forest University on Saturday, March 2, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Science Olympiad is a science competition modeled after sporting events like the Olympics. Instead of athletic prowess, students demonstrate scientific problem-solving skills, engineering talent by building complex machines, or knowledge of science, technology, math and engineering (STEM) disciplines.

Events like Science Olympiad encourage students to pursue science by engaging in the subject in a fun and interesting way. The Olympiad rewards students for excelling in a passion that does not always receive celebration, as they can earn gold, silver, and bronze metals like Olympians worldwide.

Carole Gibson, one of the Science Olympiad regional directors and Wake Forest biology professor, said hosting the event on campus allows visiting students to perform experiments in university laboratories and to get a view of college science classrooms, as well as making it easy for Wake Forest students to volunteer and help lead events. More than 150 students, faculty, and staff will offer their assistance in making all the events happen.

“Science Olympiad is often described as a scientific track meet. Schools bring teams of students who each compete in a number of different events and, like an athletic event, there are individual winners and team winners,” Gibson said. “But the distinction is that, instead of being rewarded for being a good athlete, students are being rewarded for being good in science.”

“Science Olympiad encourages students to continue to pursue their interest in science, as they come to understand that a love of science offers its own rewards.” Carole Gibson, Wake Forest biology professor

Thirty-six middle and high school teams (with up to 16 students each) from Alleghany, Davidson, Davie, Forsyth, Stokes, Surry, Wilkes, and Yadkin counties will compete in 46 different science-related events, including:

  • Forensics – Students will perform tests to solve a crime, including identification of unknown powders, fingerprint analysis, and chromatography. (Winston Hall room 012, 8:30 a.m. to 9:45 a.m.)
  • Ping Pong Parachute – teams will design, build, and bring up to two bottle rockets to the tournament to launch a ping pong ball to stay aloft for the greatest amount of time. (Reynolds Gym A405, 8:30 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.)
  • Duct Tape Challenge – This event tests a team’s ability to design and build a structure primarily from Duct® Tape. (Winston Hall room 221, 10:00 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.)
  • Mousetrap Vehicle – Teams design, build, and test a vehicle using one or two snap mousetraps as its sole means of propulsion to push objects to specified positions. (Winston Hall room 046 12:15 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.)

Wake Forest’s Department of Biology and Center for Molecular Signaling are sponsoring the event. The day culminates with award ceremonies at 4 p.m. in Brendle Recital Hall in Scales Fine Arts Center and Annenberg Auditorium in Carswell Hall for the middle and high school teams, respectively.

Please contact the news office to make arrangements for coverage or to obtain a complete schedule.

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