Niles West hosted a Science Olympiad invitational on Saturday, Feb. 11. Unlike a science fair, where students create experiments and displays about them, students involved in Science Olympiad choose several events to research and take part in from several chosen by the state organization. At the event, they are responsible for being experts in their chosen topics.
Each year, there are different science events for students to choose and study.
“It is a series of 23 science events; they change every year. There are physics events, there are chemistry events, biology events, building events, etc.,” Science Olympiad sponsor and physics teacher Elizabeth Ramseyer said.
Events from this year include towers, hovercrafts, robot arm, wind power, hydrogeology, remote sensing, forensics, electric vehicles and much more.
Students are to work in teams according to national rules.
“There are 15 people on a team. You could only have seven seniors on the team by national rule,” Ramseyer said.
Sophomore and Science Olympiad team member Muhammad Afzal said students have been hard at work since the beginning of the year.
“Science Olympiad usually starts around the third week of school, and we have to work through January. I really believe everyone has worked to their limit and everyone does their best,” Afzal said.
Aside from learning about various fields of science, students make a lot of friends and learn an array of valuable life skills.
According to supervisor Kay Wagner, whose groups of students were tasked with creating a robot arm that was to move a stack of pennies to the center of a target, students must work well in teams.
“They learn how to use tools, wire electronics, planning and coordination, and most importantly, teamwork and how to operate as a team,” Wagner said.
Whether you are a science person or not, students are encouraged to join Science Olympiad.
“It’s taught me responsibility and knowledge; you’re introduced to a lot of things. If you’re a science or math person, I would recommend it, but even if you’re not, there is a lot of history behind it and various fields you can choose to study,” Afzal said.