By Edward Cardenas
WARREN (CBS Detroit) – Students from Macomb and St. Clair counties spent their Saturday competing to see who could build the strongest bridges, best identify fossils and whose rockets could fly the longest at Science Olympiad Regional Tournament at Macomb Community College.
About 1,300 students from 22 middle, and 22 high schools, competed in a variety of events which span fields of study including chemistry, physics, biology, and Earth and Space sciences.
“This event exists because we really want the kids to have an opportunity to experience science and consider the possibility of a science-based career,” said John Ogden, an event organizer and parent of a Science Olympiad competitor. “This is the best way that we can think of to give them a chance to do it hands-on, to do it in a fun environment. This is a sports competition … sports for your mind.”
Science Olympiad is nearly a year-long commitment for the participants, their parents, volunteers and teachers who help the students build simple machines, specialized cars and study chemicals as they prepare for their events.
“The kids have been preparing for months for the various events they are going to compete in. They might have studied for anatomy, they might have built a device they are going to demonstrate, and then today they get to compete against their peers from all across Macomb and St. Clair counties,” said Ogden added.
The Macomb and St. Clair regional is one of 15 Science Olympiad regional events that are being held across Michigan. The top five teams in each division will compete at the state event at Michigan State University in May.
In addition to applying what they learn in the classroom, regional sponsors General Motors and BAE Systems give high school students the opportunity to shadow engineers and experience “what it is like” in STEM positions, according to Ogden.
“These are the kids that are going to be the inventors and change tomorrow,” Ogden said. “What a great opportunity to serve them.”