Maumee Fifth-Graders To Compete In Science Olympiad

Using computers, Lillian Encalado (left) and Graycee Andrysek plan out their skills in circuit wizardry before they move on to using actual batteries. MIRROR PHOTO BY KRISTI FISH

BY KRISTI FISH | MIRROR REPORTER — Maumee Intermediate School fifth-graders are testing out their knowledge in a variety of scientific areas and will soon be competing with those skills.

On May 11, the 12 students will compete at the Science Olympiad Tournament at Washington Local Schools.

“It’s a lot of different skills and it will be very fun for the kids to learn more,” said coach Marissa Shank.

There are several events for the students to showcase their skills. The students will split into groups of two, forming six partnerships. 

Each set of partners will participate in three of the following events: bridge building; circuit wizardry; write it/do it; starry, starry night; biomass; mystery powders; rubber band racers; and science bowl.

“I love these types of activities because it encompasses everything STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, math) stands for,” Shank explained. “It encourages them to think through the design process, improve designs to make them better, fail while learning from their mistakes, and build their endurance, perseverance and problem-solving skills.”

In order to prepare for the competition, the students meet once a week during their lunchtime, learning to multi-task and hone their skills.

They all seem to enjoy it, Shank said, noting how excited the students are when they walk through the door and how quickly they want to dive into the work.

Graycee Andrysek, who is partnered with Lillian Encalado, said the two are working with circuit wizardry, write it/do it and mystery powders.

“I know how to make a simple circuit with just two wires, a battery and a bulb, but now I’m adding a resistor, the switch and learning what all those things mean,” Andrysek added.

She’s enjoyed learning beyond the boundaries of her classroom and enhancing her science skills. The mystery powders category, for example, teaches the students further observational skills by tasking the students to differentiate between similar looking substances, including flour, baking soda, sugar, salt, cornstarch, plaster of Paris and white sand.

A lot of the time in the group is spent working on observing and problem-solving, the students noted.

One set of students, Macallan Johnston and Jaxon Crossen, have spent a lot of their time planning their rubber band car, which cannot use tires, but rather must use other round objects to move while being propelled by rubber bands.

“We’re using Styrofoam because it’s light and shouldn’t slow down the car. It’s easy to push the stuff through, too, so it will be less work and more benefits,” Johnston said.

The two said they’ve really enjoyed using their problem-solving skills to think outside the box and create their project.

“I really like science and learning about a lot of stuff, so I thought this would be a good opportunity for me to learn more and do more stuff,” added classmate Paisley Sund.

Sund and her partner Layla McIntyre are working together on the science bowl, biomass and starry, starry night categories.

Biomass requires the students to make a few attempts to grow the same plant and then enter their largest one for the competition. Starry, starry night tests the students on their knowledge of constellations, planets and the rest of the galaxies.

“My favorite is probably science bowl, though,” McIntyre said.

Using their computers, the two are able to expand their knowledge during the class time to prepare for the competition.

The 12 students, which also include Landyn Ware, Parker Sheehy, Daphne Revill, Isai Canales, Deklan West and Lillian Adam-czewski, have enjoyed testing their knowledge and look forward to the competition in May, said Shank.

“I think it’s truly amazing that these kids have such a love of learning. When I pitched this idea to them, I told them that practice would be once a week during lunch and recess, which is often their main time to be social and bit more relaxed at school. These kids love learning so much that they are choosing to give that up weekly, just to come learn about these events alongside me,” Shank said.

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