By Tu Trinh
On April 16, 2016, OC Science teamed up with OCSEF to host their 2nd annual Orange County Science and Engineering Week science olympiad invitationals. Students from grades 3 - 8 were offered the opportunity to attend an invitational and participate in two discovery stations. Third through fifth graders were in the Elementary Science Olympiad Invitational, while sixth through eighth graders were in the Junior Science Olympiad. Students who participated in the preliminary Problems of the Month preliminary rounds were selected to compete in the Junior Science Bowl.
The Elementary Science Olympiad Invitational was the first event, from 9:30 - 12:30. It began with a short introduction from OC Science board. Afterwards, everyone dispersed into their separate stations for the first rotation. OC Science offered eight stations: Aerodynamics, Build It, Building Prokaryotes, Crime Busters, Mystery Liquids, Picture This, Straw Towers, and Solid, Liquid, Gas. Volunteers worked extremely hard to set up their event, produce worksheets and rubrics, teach the students the material, and grade their performances for the awards ceremony.
For those who could not register, OC Science also offered six mini event stations at the front of the building, such as Index Card Towers and Chromatography. Docents volunteering for OCSEF were also hard at work, giving tours of the winning science fair projects to interested families, teachers, and students.
After the second event rotation, the Elementary Science Olympiad Invitational ended with an exciting awards ceremony emceed by OC Science board. Each event captain came up and announced three winners from each of their rotations. “It was really fun doing the experiments and learning more about science,” says Athena Chen, who medaled twice at the ceremony.
The Junior Science Olympiad took place in the afternoon, from 12:45 - 4:30. This time, OC Science offered six stations: Bottle Balloon Vehicle, Clay Boats, Lego Bridge, Marshmallow Tower, Mystery Architecture, and Roller Coasters. Again, volunteers, board members, docents, and parents worked extremely hard to guide the students, prepare lunch and snacks, provide live stream updates, and keep the event running smoothly. “Helping all these kids explore science and make new discoveries is truly a remarkable experience. It’s great to see all my hard work pay off,” reports Vesal Razavimaleki, captain of the Mystery Architecture table.
After both event rotations, OC Science board hosted the Science Bowl 2016. Eight top-performing students, selected prior to the bowl, went up on stage and relied on their vast scientific knowledge and fast reflexes to answer the trivia questions as quickly and accurately as possible. This was an captivating experience for all who participated as well as the audience. In the end, seventh- grader Anne Smith was awarded the championship trophy. “I had a fun time standing up there on stage… [I] can’t wait for next year!” she says.
The 2nd annual Orange County Science and Engineering Week event concluded at 4:30 after the Junior awards ceremony. Students left the auditorium after a long and exhilarating day, inspired to do their own scientific experiments and waiting for OC Science’s next event.