Region students test scientific prowess in Olympiad

2014-02-15T18:15:00Z 2014-02-15T22:21:10Z Region students test scientific prowess in OlympiadTimes Staff nwitimes.com
February 15, 2014 6:15 pm  • 

A device designed by middle school student Miranda Munoz lowered its cargo — a raw egg — to the floor from a second-story balcony Saturday during Science Olympiad competition at Purdue University Calumet in Hammond.

The slightly cracked egg shell was all Munoz and teammate Ryan Bradtke needed to see to know the rotary made of Styrofoam blades hadn't worked quite as well as they'd hoped.

"It didn't spin, and it didn't catch enough air," causing the egg to land too quickly and crack, said Munoz, an eighth-grader at Our Lady of Grace School in Highland.

"It worked a little bit," said Munoz, who plans to continue her science studies and enter the medical field.  

Munoz and Bradtke were among nearly 250 students from local middle and high schools to converge on the Hammond campus for a day of regional competition in hands-on events related to biology, chemistry, earth science, engineering and physics.

The daylong Science Olympiad at Purdue University Calumet and another one Saturday at Indiana University Northwest in Gary were two of nine tournaments in Indiana this year.

Top teams will advance to the state competition. The top teams in the state will advance to the National Science Olympiad Tournament, set for May 16-17 in Orlando, Fla.

Lydia Gerike, a 10th-grader at Portage High School, worked with teammate Brad Hill to race a small wooden car carrying a raw egg to the finish line without crashing into a wall and smashing the egg.

Their car, one of several to compete in the event at Indiana University Northwest, never made it to the finish line, stopping about halfway there.

Gerike took it in stride.

Competing in Science Olympiad is one of many activities she said she pursues.

"I like to explore a lot of things during high school," she said. "I want to keep my options open."

Teams competing Saturday included high schools and middle schools in East Chicago, Hammond, Merrillville, Munster, Whiting, Crown Point, Chesterton, Portage, Michigan City and Valparaiso.

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