Steven and Sean on the Polar Bear Cam
Steven and Sean on the Polar Bear Cam

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

San Diego Science Olympiad - Steven's team

Carmel Valley Middle School's 5 Science Olympiad Teams

Steven's school takes their Science Olympiad very seriously. Last year they got first place in San Diego county. This year they sent five teams to the event.

Steven participated in three events, Amphibians and Reptiles, Road Scholar (the event that Doug and I coached), and his building event was called Trajectory.

Example of a Trajectory event

The point of the Trajectory event is to build a device capable of launching a tennis ball that can accurately hit various targets at various heights. The distance to the targets and the heights are not known in advance of the competition, but the maximum distance was 8 meters.

Various Trajectory devices in impound

That device turned out to be quite the effort. Doug helped Steven and his partner, Young, to build the device they designed using power tools.

Steven's device is the one in the furthest back left corner

The device was a good design in many ways, but it was plagued with technical difficulties (mostly that it didn't shoot far enough) and they were adjusting the design right up until the day before the competition.

Their device was powered by bungee cords

This meant they didn't have an opportunity to gather all the required calibration data, so going into the competition it was kind of a guess as to how to set their device to hit the various targets.

En route to the launch area

Scoring is based on how close the tennis ball is to the targets. They hit the furthest target right on.

The other targets did not go as well as that one shot. If they'd had even one more day to prepare and gather all their required data, I think their device was good enough to win a medal, but things didn't work out that way.

Our Road Scholars with their awards

Three out of the four middle school teams we coached brought home medals in the Road Scholar map reading event. One of the teams (the boy on the far right) and his partner tied for first. Steven and Young got 15th and I think the girls got 5th.

Carmel Valley Middle School with their second place trophy

Steven got 9th place for the Amphibians and Reptiles test (they didn't have results for that event on competition day) and their school won the second place trophy overall.

The Science Olympiad was one of the more time-consuming things we've ever taken on with the boys (we started in early November with the middle school teams) and having the competition the day before Steven and I left for Memphis added to the general pre-trip anxiety we always seem to face.

Sometime during the day on Saturday it dawned on us that if our kids did well enough in their events to go on to the state competition, our jobs wouldn't be done.

As it turns out, Steven's school will be sending one of their five teams on to the state competition.

We might do this again next year, but we're going to need some time to rest first. I think we're getting too old for this.

- Kathleen


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