School District 64 Students Face Science and Engineering Challenges at Annual Olympiad

Olympic-style science competition draws 233 eager students

Competing in five team events to solve ingenious, fun challenges in science and engineering, the 2013 Science Olympiad drew 233 eager Park Ridge-Niles School District 64 students in grades 3-5 this year.  The extracurricular event was held on Saturday morning, February 2 at Emerson Middle School.

“Although they appear simple, the challenges require creativity, teamwork, critical thinking and careful reasoning to solve,” explained Dr. Tony Clishem, District 64 Curriculum Specialist for Science.  “Through several practice sessions and during the competition itself, students also develop concepts and practices soon to become part of the Next Generation of Science Standards (NGSS),” he pointed out.

The events include designing and testing egg drop devices, catapults, and paper airplanes; building free standing skyscrapers made from straws and straight pins; and making accurate inferences about the physical properties of several mystery objects.

Students registered in November for one of the events, which are held simultaneously.  Each event is co-sponsored by District 64 and one of the elementary school PTO/As.  Volunteer parents work as coaches for students organized into teams and coordinate the events.

The 2013 Olympiad winners are:

Aerodynamics – Design a paper airplane and fly it to a target:

  • 1st Place/Gold Medal: Michael Dort, Aiden Goodwin, & Jack Dezelan, grade 4, Washington
  • 2nd Place/Silver Medal: Ben Christopoulos, grade 4 & Nate Vucsko, grade 3, Washington
  • 3rd Place/Bronze Medal: Billy Buerk & Ethan Rich, grade 4, Field

Mystery Box – Identify the properties of the contents within various boxes using all senses other than sight:

  • 1st Place/Gold Medal: Nicole Lobont & Lili Massengill, grade 5, Field
  • 2nd Place/Silver Medal: Elizabeth Compton & Erin Weiss, grade 4, Washington
  • 3rd Place/Bronze Medal: Caitlin Wallace & Audrey Paluch, grade 3, Field

Rubber Band Catapult – Design and construct a catapult to shoot a rubber band at a target placed within a given range:

  • 1st Place/Gold Medal: Erick Duerkop & Jack Harms, grade 4, Roosevelt  
  • 2nd Place Tie/Silver Medals: Joshua Brown & Nathan Munoz-Lo, grade 3, Field; and Patrice Andrews, Ana Chip & Zoe Crain, grade 3, Carpenter
  • 3rd Place/Bronze Medal: Erica Jasper, Joey Sagmeister & Ben Taalman, grade 5, Field

Structures – Build tall, free-standing structures with drinking straws and straight pins:

  • 1st Place/Gold Medal: Madeline Handley & Julianna Sunken, grade 4, Field
  • 2nd Place/Silver Medal: Nichole Botello & Trisha Warren, grade 4, Field
  • 3rd Place/Bronze Medal: Zachary Hassman & Alex Spiegel, grade 3, Washington

Egg Drop – Design and build a “catcher” from paper and tape to cushion the drop of an egg from increasing heights:

  • 1st Place/Gold Medal: Samuel Adleman, Billy Koewler & Dakota Hendricks, grade 4, Franklin
  • 2nd Place Tie/Silver Medals: Treasa McGrath, Madeleine Wood-Smith, Maddie Szkwarek, grade 5, Roosevelt; Tyler Hopman & Zach Vucsko, grade 3, Washington; Maria Dobrilovic, Bella Karnazes & Alexis Pachonphai, grade 3, Washington; Amelie Gahagan, grade 4 & Ella Sciortino, grade 5, Field
  • 3rd Place Tie/Bronze Medals: Sonia Edassery & Jennifer Nikolic, grade 5, Franklin; Zoe Berthold, McKenna Traharne & Aleksandra Bigos, grade 5, Washington; Alyssa Rambhajan, grade 4 & Taylor Truckenbrod, grade 3, Franklin

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