Science Olympiad is just around the corner

Science Olympiad is just around the corner

Are you interested in joining a club that competes to further explore various fields of science? Fortunately, GlenOak has a successful Science Olympiad team; a club that performs in an array of science-based problem solving events. Officially advised by teachers Matt Brown and Nathan Bodenschatz, the team consists 20 students competing in subjects like biology, physics, anatomy, chemistry and engineering.

Brown has been coaching the team since his first year as a teacher at GlenOak in 1997. He also coached a Science Olympiad team two years prior at Fairless high school. With 23 years of experience, Brown has been able to see it grow over the years.

“The talent on the team seems to ebb and flow. For instance, we’ll have a few years during which time a number of students dedicated to building/engineering events will be on the team, followed by a scarcity of such interest,” Brown said.

However, the team has never been short of a group of students who love to compete.

“Other than that, a consistent supply of talented and intelligent students regarding the sciences always seems to emerge and be available for team membership,” Brown said.

Along with their newer coach Nathan Bodenschatz, Brown has gotten help from many other science related teachers to help out with their practices.

“This year, I’ve recruited several other teachers to assist students with preparing for specific events, including Mrs. Wellman, Mrs. Corey, Mrs. DiMascio, Mrs. Ruttig, Miss Steinmetz and Mr. Walbeck,” Brown said.

Each tournament consists of 23 different events, allotting generally 50 minutes for each trial. Teammates usually compete in groups of two to three depending on the task. They are also allowed to participate in more than one event per tournament.

“I competed in microbe mission, anatomy, write it do it and disease detectives,” senior Lauren Turner said.

The most successful competitors of each event will move onto the Regional tournament in Akron, and eventually the State tournament.

“Each year at the Regional olympiad, held at the University of Akron, our team members have earned 1st through 6th place medals in various events,” Brown said.

Along with the team’s success at Regional olympiad(s), they have also made it to the state tournament multiple years.

“Since the first year in which GlenOak competed, which was 1990, through 2017, the team has gone all years except for 2011, 2012 and 2013. That’s 25 of 28 years,” Brown said.

The team has an infinite interest in the world around them, as they work together to solve problems to distinguish it.

“I think it has given me a place to use my problem solving skills,” Turner said. “For example, if my group member and I can’t figure out a question, we have to work through it together and try to find a solution.”

Along with studying for their specialized events, the students also build structures for their competitions, further utilizing their engineering abilities. All of the preparation and performances in the tournaments help single out the students’ specific interests, and better organizes their scientific process.

“Students benefit through an overall emphasis of the “scientific method” of making a plan or hypothesis, collecting data or testing devices, and observing the results,” Brown said. “Furthermore, those involved in the events involving paper and pencil tests only need to know their topic forwards and backwards. That effort directed at internalizing a vast array of knowledge pushes one’s mental limits further out.”

A fluent knowledge in science and math is important to compete well on the Science olympiad team. Nonetheless, any student is able to join each fall when the signup sheets are out, as long as they are willing to learn more about the world around you.