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Schools find success at MOSI’s Science Olympics
By Amber Jurgensen | Associate Editor
Science has never been so fun.
Elementary students from more than 140 schools built skyscrapers with paper cups, constructed boats out of foil and launched paper airplanes during the Science Olympics Nov. 10, at the Museum of Science and Industry, in Tampa.
Of the 15 Plant City schools competing, seven won first place in their heat and will be going on to the Science Olympic Finals Nov. 28.
Since September, students have been practicing for the Science Olympics at their schools. Each grade level is assigned a different project. The students compete against their own classmates, and the top students from each class compete against other winning students in their grade level. The top pair of students from each grade level went on to compete at MOSI.
“We try and get our kids engaged and really think out of the box,” said Sandy Van Oosten, a teacher at Walden Lake Elementary who teaches gifted science.
To prepare for the Science Olympics, Van Oosten’s classes completed research and testing tasks in class. Students had to have a blueprint when they competed last weekend.
But sometimes, it doesn’t always go according to plan. Balloon racers can be finicky and often cause unforeseen results with her third-graders.
“Science isn’t always predictable,” Van Oosten said. “This teaches them to try again and work together. But they really love the teamwork aspect of it.
“The Science Olympics have a more fun approach versus science fair,” Van Oosten says. “The STEM science fair can be overwhelming.”
Students have competed in the semifinals for two weekends, Nov. 3 and Nov. 10. The finals will be from 9 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Nov. 28, at MOSI, in Tampa.
Contact Amber Jurgensen at [email protected].
PARTICIPATING SCHOOLS FROM PLANT CITY
Walden Lake Elementary
Several Plant City teams nabbed first place in their heat and will go on to the Science Olympic Finals Nov. 28, at MOSI.
• Kindergarten Skyscrapers: Springhead
• First-Grade Aqua Foils: Knights
• Second-Grade Paper Airplanes: Bailey; Third-Grade Balloon Racers: Burney, Dover, Lincoln; Fifth-Grade Marble Coasters: Trapnell
PROJECTS BY GRADE LEVEL
First: Aqua foils
Third: Balloon racers
Fourth: Marshmallow flyers
Fifth: Marble coasters