Augusta State’s role in the National Science Olympiad is growing. The university has been selected to host the 2009 National Science Olympiad, and Dr. William Wellnitz, professor of biology, has been named as the state’s Science Olympiad director.
Dr. Wellnitz and ASU have a long history with the annual competition. He has been serving as the Science Olympiad Regional Director, and since 1990, ASU has hosted 10 regional high school or middle school competitions. The university will also host the state middle school competition in 2006, the state’s high school competition in 2007, both state competitions in 2008, and the national middle and high school competition in 2009, which will involve teams from all 50 states.
Science Olympiad is a national program designed to promote student interest in science. Teams compete at a regional competition first, with the top 20 percent advancing to the state event. The first, and in some cases, the second place teams advance to the national competition, held in mid-May.
Events are updated each year to reflect the current advances in biology, earth science, chemistry, physics, computers, astronomy, engineering, and technology. Emphasis is placed on active, hands-on group participation.
“The competition takes some of the rigor out of a formal education,” says Dr. Wellnitz. “It is the best activity for getting kids not only interested in science, but helping them appreciate it.”
A popular Olympiad contest is the Naked Egg Drop, a fun contest in which students learn about the laws of physics. Students have 30 minutes to construct a device to catch a raw egg that is dropped from various heights. They are evaluated on how thin the effective catching device is and the height from which the egg breaks. It has real-life application in the current Mars Pathfinder. Other events include such competitions as Bottle Rocket, in which a soft drink bottled is launched using water and air, and Robo Billiards, in which remote controlled robots place billiard balls into coffee cans.
Many volunteers are needed for the competitions, particularly for the 2009 national Science Olympiad. If interested in volunteering for the events, contact Dr. William Wellnitz at 737-1539.
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