Release date: Feb. 18, 2010
News & Public Affairs contact: Randy Weiler, 615-898-5616 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Science Olympiad contact: Dr. Pat Patterson, 615-898-5085 or email@example.com
Area Middle-, High-School Teams Prepare
for Feb. 27 Regional Science Olympiad at MTSU
(MURFREESBORO) — On Saturday, Feb. 27, MTSU once again will host the regional competition of the Science Olympiad, when 14 high-school and 10 middle-school teams will participate in 23 different events located across the university’s campus.
“Science Olympiad is the best competitive program out there for science, technology, engineering and mathematics, because it's not just a test of memory," said Dr. Patricia Patterson, MTSU chemistry professor and Science Olympiad coordinator.
“The kids get to build things, and they have to apply their knowledge.”
“Road Scholar,” where students work with various types of maps;
“Shock Value,” which deals with circuits, electricity and magnets;
“Wright Stuff,” where teams will design and build a propelled aerodynamic device;
“Battery Buggy,” which features construction of an electric vehicle; and
“Mousetrap Vehicle,” where teams must create a vehicle that meets specifications and uses two mousetraps as the only means of propulsion.
“People are beginning to realize this is where it’s at. This competition is the best I’ve ever worked with,” said Patterson. “It’s for all ages, all grades. No matter what your skill set, you’ve got an opportunity.”
Students with a background in Science Olympiad often benefit from their experiences far into the future, as well.
“I’ve heard stories of kids who are applying to schools and other programs, and if Science Olympiad is on their application, it can often lead to that student being preferred over another,” Patterson said.
Sponsors of the 2010 Regional Science Olympiad include MTSU’s College of Graduate Studies and the College of Basic and Applied Sciences as well as State Farm Insurance. State Farm’s sponsorship is given in the form of scholarships awarded to each school after competition to help offset the cost of fees and supplies.
MTSU recognizes the Science Olympiad as a great place for bright young minds to gather, and attempts to make participants feel at home on the campus.
“Dr. (Tom) Cheatham, dean of the College of Basic and Applied Sciences, always shows up and makes the rounds, because he knows some of these kids will be MTSU students,” Patterson said. “It’s best to shake their hands and see what they’re working on so if they come to interview or end up on the campus, he can recognize them and make them feel welcome.”
MTSU has hosted the regional competition for 15 years and supports the Olympiad with large numbers of volunteers as well as sponsorship and the use of facilities.
“About 90 percent of our volunteers are MTSU students, faculty or staff from several departments, and the other 10 percent come from outside the university,” the coordinator explained. “My work-study and pre-service students love working with the kids, because they’re going to be teaching some of them in their future careers. You want them to feel the excitement about science in general and about math, uses of technology and engineering.”
High-school teams competing include Blackman (two teams); Dayspring Academy of Greenbrier; Eagleville; Franklin; Harpeth Hall (two teams), Montgomery Bell Academy and University School of Nashville; Ravenwood of Franklin; Siegel; La Vergne; Riverdale; and Spring Hill.
Middle-school teams competing include Blackman, Cason Lane Academy, Dayspring, E. A. Cox (two teams) of Columbia, MBA, Smyrna, St. Rose of Lima (two teams) and Stewarts Creek in Smyrna.
MTSU also will host the Science Olympiad Elementary School competition this April.
The University of Tennessee at Knoxville will serve as the site for the state Science Olympiad Saturday, March 27.
Anyone interested in volunteering with the Science Olympiad is encouraged to contact Patterson at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 615-898-5085.
Media-Friendly Events on Saturday, Feb. 27 at MTSU:
• “Wright Stuff” — middle-school teams will design and build a propelled aerodynamic device for greatest time in air. Location: Alumni Memorial Gym arena, 8:15 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.;
• “Battery Buggy” — middle-school teams will construct an electric vehicle that travels a specified distance and stops closest to finish line. Location: Davis Science Building Room 121, 9:30 to 11:45 a.m.;
• “Mission: Possible” — Rube Goldberg-like devices, built before competition to complete a required final task, are tested and evaluated for the high-school division. Location: Davis Science Building 121, 8:15 to 10:30 a.m.;
• “Mousetrap Vehicle” — high-school teams will design, build and race vehicles using one or two snap mousetraps as sole energy source. Location: Davis Science Building Room 135, noon to 2:15 p.m.;
• “Trajectory” — middle- and high-school teams design, build and operate a device that launches a projectile into a target using elastic solids for energy. Location: Wiser-Patton Science building Room 220 and outside, 9:30 a.m. to 2:15 p.m.
Note: Claire Rogers, a senior advertising/public relations major from Franklin, wrote the news release for the Office of News and Public Affairs.
With three Nobel Prize winners among its alumni and former faculty, Middle Tennessee State University confers master’s degrees in 10 areas, the Specialist in Education degree, the Doctor of Arts degree and the Doctor of Philosophy degree. MTSU is ranked among the top 100 public universities in the nation in the Forbes “America’s Best Colleges” 2009 survey.
For MTSU news and information, go to mtsunews.com.