Macomb Science Olympiad tests young students at the MCC campus in Warren – Macomb Daily

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Some 2,000 aspiring scientists, engineers and doctors gathered at Macomb Community College’s South Campus on Saturday to participate in the 36th annual Macomb Science Olympiad for elementary school students. The competition was suspended for two years due to the COVID pandemic.

Fifty-nine teams from 50 schools in Macomb and St. Clair counties spent the day competing in 17 different events that challenged participants in multiple science areas. There are two divisions; K-5 and K-6, and some schools chose to send two teams to the competition.

“Teams usually form in January and practice for the various events leading up to today’s competition,” said event supervisor Michael Sikorski.

The precision ping pong throwing event featured several types of handmade devices intended to launch ping pong balls into a small plastic pool and bucket. (Photo by Susan Smiley)

For young engineers, the precision ping pong propulsion event was extremely popular. Teams use their creativity to build what they believe is the best device for tossing ping pong balls into a plastic wading pool. They get points for balls that hit the target and bonuses if they can land a ping pong ball in the bucket placed in the center of the pool.

“You see a lot of teams will use a catapult type design where others will use some kind of air compression to launch the ball,” Sikorski said.

The devices were made from a variety of materials, including wood, PC pipes, bungee cords, and bicycle pumps.

Outside on the MCC track, teams launched their water rockets in hopes of covering a sufficient distance to win a Science Olympiad prize. Made from two-litre plastic bottles and a number of items to make the bottle more aerodynamic, each rocket was attached to a small parachute. To be successful, the parachute must open shortly after being launched so that the wind can carry the rocket a distance before it drifts towards the ground.

Bridge the gap gave teams a random collection of objects and asked them to build a bridge out of those objects that was as long as possible while still being able to support the weight of a tennis ball.  (Photo by Susan Smiley)
Bridge the gap gave teams a random collection of objects and asked them to build a bridge out of those objects that was as long as possible while still being able to support the weight of a tennis ball. (Photo by Susan Smiley)

Several teams struggled to open the parachute quickly enough due to tangled parachute lines.

“Tangled string!” said a young observer, shaking his head. “That’s the worst way down!”

Inside the MCC’s scorching terrain room, teams tested their physics knowledge in the Car Egg Crash event, which required them to use materials given to them to create protection for two eggs that were placed on a small wheeled cart. The challenge was to send the cart with the eggs down increasingly steep tracks without breaking the eggs.

Many competitions tested students’ knowledge, memory and arithmetic skills. Challenge A is for Anatomy asked students to identify the anatomical structures of the human skeletal, muscular and respiratory systems, while the Rock Dog Challenge asked young geologists to identify various rocks and minerals and answer questions. questions about them.

The intensity of the contestants was evident as they tried to calculate how many pieces of pasta were in plastic bins without actually counting the pasta.  (Photo by Susan Smiley)
The intensity of the contestants was evident as they tried to calculate how many pieces of pasta were in plastic bins without actually counting the pasta. (Photo by Susan Smiley)

Sikorski is launching the Zowie Estimation Challenge, which asks students to use their math skills to estimate mass in grams, volume in cubic centimeters, and to estimate the number of objects in a container. For Saturday’s competition, each team had to guess the number of pieces of pasta in plastic containers. One had egg noodles, one had elbow macaroni and one had orzo pasta.

“I thought the orzo would be very difficult because it’s so small,” Sikorski said. “We provide pencils and calculators, but no measuring devices are allowed to understand the various calculations. They just have to make their best guess.

According to Sikorski, there were 17,000 pieces of orzo in the container.

After the day’s events were completed, rewards were distributed. In the K-6 division, Utica Roberts Elementary edged out Utica Messmore Elementary by four points to earn a first place trophy. Utica Beacon Tree finished third, followed by Fraser Disney Elementary, Liberty Homeschool, Sterling Heights Plumbrook Elementary and Fraser Edison Elementary.

In the K-5 division, Higgins Elementary of L’anse Creuse took first place in hardware, followed by Marysville Gardens, Washington, Chippewa Valley Mohawk, Chippewa Valley Cheyenne, Chippewa Valley Miami and Chippewa Valley Shawnee.

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