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Science Olympiad challenges more than 1,000 students with STEM contests

  • Students from Grand Haven Public Schools celebrating a victory at the Science Olympiad.
  • Students from Byron Center participating in the "Experimental Design" challenge.
  • Students testing the strength of their constructed towers.
  • Students testing custom-built hovercrafts.

Posted on March 20, 2017

More than 1,000 local middle and high school students spent March 18 building bottle rockets, constructing hovercrafts, solving crimes, exploring the chemistry of food and much more during the 33rd annual Region 12 Science Olympiad Tournament.

Hosted by Grand Valley's Regional Math and Science Center (RMSC), the event gave students from more than 60 middle and high school around West Michigan the opportunity to showcase their knowledge in biology, earth science, chemistry, physics and technology during various competitions.

"The students are participating in an event that acknowledges their gifts, passions, and abilities," said Karen Meyers, RMSC director. "They are coached, encouraged and applauded for their success by their peers and learn that it is okay to be a 'science nerd.' They are rewarded for problem solving, critical thinking and teamwork in a setting that develops an understanding of how the world works."

Science Olympiad is an international non-profit organization devoted to improving the quality of science education by increasing student interest in the field, while providing recognition for outstanding achievements in science education by both students and teachers.

During Grand Valley’s first Science Olympiad Tournament in 1984, only 26 teams competed from schools in Kent, Ottawa, Muskegon, Allegan and Oceana counties. Now, approximately 70 teams sign up to compete each year.

Meyers said the yearly success of the Science Olympiad can be attributed to an expansive team effort, through volunteering efforts by Grand Valley faculty, staff, students, and area teachers and parents who serve as team coaches.

"Science Olympiad is important with respect to the growing demand for STEM professionals," Meyers said. "This event exposes students to practicing scientists and career choices through Science Olympiad's ever-changing lineup of events in all STEM disciplines."

Below is a full list of the 18 teams advancing to the state Science Olympiad tournament April 29 in Lansing: 

Middle School Teams

1.) Lakeshore Middle School
2.) Allendale Middle School
3.) White Pines Intermediate School
4.) Chandler Woods Charter Academy
5.) Riley Street Middle School
6.) Plymouth Christian Middle School
7.) East Grand Rapids Middle School
8.) Macatawa Bay Middle School
9.) Harbor Lights Middle School
10.) Northern Hills Middle School
11.) Jenison Junior High School

High School Teams

1.) Grand Haven High School
2.) Forest Hills Central High School
3.) West Ottawa High School
4.) Plymouth Christian High School
5.) Grand Rapids Christian High School
6.) Allendale High School
7.) Caledonia High School
8.) Jenison High School
9.) Wyoming Senior High
10.) Grandville High School

For more information about the Science Olympiad Tournament, contact Chelsea Ridge, RMSC math program coordinator, at (616) 331-3172, or visit the RMSC website.