Colorado State University will host its first-ever Northern Regional Science Olympiad on campus March 13.
The Science Olympiad is designed to test the scientific knowledge of middle-school and senior-high students. This year, 22 middle-school teams and 38 high-school teams, each composed of at least 15 students, will compete on the Colorado State campus at the end of its spring break week. More than 700 Science Olympiad contenders are expected to attend.
"March traditionally means competition in basketball on college campuses, but we’re proud that Colorado State will be hosting an intellectual contest that is every bit as exciting and demanding of skills," said Thomas Sneider, associate dean of the College of Natural Sciences. "These young Olympiad competitors are going to be the scientists, physicians, researchers and problem-solvers of the next century, and we’re excited to be able to bring them here to demonstrate their very considerable intellectual talents."
Fort Collins will send 12 teams to the Olympiad: one each from Preston, Lesher, Cache La Poudre, Blevins, Boltz and Webber junior highs and from Poudre High School; a team from Beattie Elementary; and two teams each from Rocky Mountain High School and Fort Collins High School.
In 1998, Fort Collins High School finished second in the national competition and Preston Junior High finished 13th.
"When you consider that these teams are competing against those from science magnet high schools back east, you realize what a really impressive, mind-boggling achievement these young people have made," said Mike Viney, a science teacher at Blevins Junior High who is helping to coordinate this year’s first for Colorado State.
Fort Collins teams regularly dominate regional and state meets with their strong performances, Viney said.
Teams from Akron, Yuma, Rangely, Laredo and the Denver area as well as private schools also will compete.
One of two regional semi-finals, the Olympiad is run like an athletic competition. Each student competes in three or more events, and scoring is similar to that involved in a track meet. Both teams and individuals are recognized for their achievements.
The interscholastic competition is intended to increase student interest in science and to improve the quality of science education. Student teams prepare all year for events that include "bioprocess," "egg bungie," "experimental design," "polymer detective" and "redesigned genes."
The state competition will take place April 17 this year at the Colorado School of Mines. A high school team and a middle school-junior high team will go on to the nationals.