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Young Scientists Busy Preparing For Regional Science Olympiad
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Budding young scientists from throughout the region are gearing up for the 31st Annual Stanislaus County Regional Science Olympiad slated for Saturday, March 4 at Modesto Junior College (West Campus Science Center). The event begins at 8:30 a.m. and will end with the Awards Ceremony at 4:45 p.m. held inside the Agriculture Pavilion; students from Oakdale and Riverbank will be among the competitors. More than 550 students representing area junior and senior high schools will participate in the day-long event. The public is invited to attend. Admission and parking are free.

The following junior high/middle schools are participating: Blaker-Kinser, Creekside, Hart-Ransom Charter, Hickman Charter, Hickman Middle, La Loma, Our Lady of Fatima, Prescott, Riverbank Language, Roosevelt, Savage, Somerset, Turlock, Ustach and Whitmore Charter. The following high schools are participating: Beyer, Central Catholic, Ceres, Downey, Enochs, Gregori, Hart Ransom Charter, Johansen, Modesto, Modesto Christian, Oakdale, Oakdale Charter, Pitman, Turlock and Whitmore Charter.

The top four teams in each division advance to the Northern California (Nor Cal) Science Olympiad State Finals. This year’s state Science Olympiad is scheduled for Saturday, April 1 at California State University, Stanislaus, in Turlock.

This year’s Science Olympiad is sponsored by the Stanislaus County Office of Education (SCOE), Modesto Junior College, and the Education Foundation of Stanislaus County. Derek Madden, Biology Professor from MJC and Cheryl Goulart, Student Events Program Coordinator from SCOE, are coordinating the event. They will join more than 150 volunteers, who will judge or assist with the competition.

The Regional Science Olympiad consists of individual and team events that encourage learning in biology, earth science, chemistry, physics, problem solving and technology. Some events require knowledge of scientific facts and concepts, while others rely on science processes, skills or application. According to Goulart, several events require students to build devices prior to the competition, such as Hovercraft.

For this event, students design and construct a self-propelled air-levitated vehicle with up to two battery-powered motors that turn one propeller each to levitate and move the vehicle down a track.