Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Local News

February 15, 2009

Students take on science challenge

Science trumped snow in Goshen Saturday morning as 18 local Science Olympiad teams converged on a snow-dusted Goshen College Campus to participate in the 2009 Science Olympiad Regional Tournament.

Modeled after the Olympic games, each participating school fielded a team of up to 15 students to compete in more than 30 science-based competitions, ranging anywhere from astronomy and meteorology to physics and robotics.

Divided into two levels of competition — middle school and high school — each team did its best Saturday to secure one of only three slots available per level that would allow them to move on to the upcoming state competition at Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis, this March.

Beginning with a 7:30 a.m. registration, the tournament kicked off at 8:15 a.m. with a welcome ceremony in the Church-Chapel and concluded at 3:15 p.m. with a special awards ceremony.

Numerous volunteers, including Goshen College students and staff and community members involved in science-based occupations, were on hand throughout the day to judge and oversee the various competitions.

Glenn Gilbert, utilities director for the college, volunteered his time Saturday to oversee the Robo-Cross competition — one of the more popular events of the day.

According to Gilbert, this year’s Robo-Cross competition involved six teams of two students each pitting their small, self-made robots against those of other teams in a timed obstacle course.

“There’s a lot of variables in how these robots can get the little objects into the various places, and it’s interesting to see how the different teams have chosen to go at it,” Gilbert said of the competitors. “Some actually move the goals closer to the targets, and some move the targets closer to the goals. They have different priorities. It’s very interesting to watch how they do it, and obviously several of the teams have been practicing quite a bit.”

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