More than 300 Chicago Public Schools students, representing 26 middle and high school, participated in the CPS Science Olympiad Regional Tournament at Wilbur Wright College last month. Student teams competed in a series of events covering a wide variety of science disciplines including biology, earth science, chemistry, physics and technology.
Albert G Lane Tech H.S. Academic Center took first place in the Middle School Division, led by teacher Emily Irwin. “The building and lab events are a great way for students to apply scientific concepts to designing the best device for the various events,” said Irwin. “Students also have to use the scientific concepts to make corrections and improvements to meet the requirements for each event as well.”
Rounding out the top three in the Middle School Division are teams from Williams Howard Taft H.S. Academic Center in second place and Decatur Classical Elementary School in third place Students at John Foster Dulles Elementary School won the event’s Spirit Award.
Lane Tech also took home first place in the High School Division, led by their teacher Scott Vessalo. Kelvyn Park High School finished in second place, followed by Friedrich von Steuben High School in third place. Kelvyn Park High School also received the Spirit Award.
“The benefits the program has are amazing. Besides the large amount of scientific knowledge they are learning, students are learning skills in teamwork, problem solving and critical thinking,” said Thomas Unger, a Science teacher at Kelvyn Park.
The top five middle school and top five high school teams now advance to the State Science Olympiad Tournament at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Student teams competed in 23 events, with monikers such as Crimebusters, Disease Detectives, Dynamic Planet and Tower Building. Each event gave students the opportunity to actively apply their knowledge of scientific concepts and hone their analytical skills.
Founded in 1984, Science Olympiad is a national non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of elementary and high school science education and increasing male, female and minority interest in science. The program aims to create a technologically literate workforce and providing recognition for outstanding achievement by both students and teachers. It is the only science competition that touches every STEM discipline (science, technology, engineering and math).
Offered by CPS in partnership with the National Science Olympiad, Illinois Science Olympiad and the City Colleges of Chicago, the Science Olympiad program at CPS has grown to 27 school-based clubs since its launch in 2007. The CPS Science Olympiad Regional Tournament is one of eight regional tournaments in Illinois.
“The Science Olympiad is a great way for students to explore other areas of science that they aren't exposed to in the classroom,” added Irwin. “I feel that it is a great way for students to become aware of science around them and not feel that it is restricted to the classroom.”
For more information about the competition, please visit the Science Olympiad website.