Students prepare for Olympics of science |

Students prepare for Olympics of science

Teri Vance
Nick Rosen, a freshman, talks with mentor Mike Mathis about the rotors on the helicopter he's building as part of Science Olympiads.
Shannon Litz/ | Nevada Appeal
Buy Photo

As his project for Science Olympiad, Eagle Valley Middle School seventh-grader Trevor Dawley is creating a trumpet out of plastic pipe.

“I’m building it because I play it in school,” he explained. “It just seems logical to build an instrument you already play and have the background knowledge of.”

During the competition, he will have to play a song on his instrument and will be judged on quality of sound. However, he hasn’t had a chance to try it out yet.

“It doesn’t sound like a trumpet because it’s just PVC pipe,” he said. “I haven’t added the valves yet.”

He joined his dozen teammates Thursday after school in their twice-weekly meeting to prepare for the state Science Olympiad competition March 8 at Rancho High School in Las Vegas.

Adviser Josh Billings said he doesn’t have to persuade the students, grades sixth through ninth, to show up for practice.

“It’s an outlet for kids who are creative thinkers and outside-the-box thinkers,” he said. “They actually ask for more time.”

Students compete in as many events as they wish out of 23 categories in mathematics, science, engineering and other technology in the Olympiad. Competitors will be tested on lab procedures, including observing, measuring and classifying specimens.

The Eagle Valley Middle School team, which includes one Carson High School freshman, took first place at the regional competition at the University of Nevada, Reno, on Saturday.

“I think the reason we do so well is because we do have that intrinsic motivation,” Billings said.

Delaney Jones, 11, watched her brother compete for four years and knew she wanted to join as soon as she was old enough.

“It was always very intriguing to me because I’ve always (enjoyed) science,” she said. “I love to make robots and design things. One of my favorite subjects in science is anatomy, so I’m doing anatomy this year.”

Rylan Fancher’s favorite event is RoboCross.

“You make a robot and make one major modification to it, and have it move objects in a field into certain areas,” Fancher, 12, explained. “It can really bring out your creativity and how you can solve a problem.”

Jesse Yi, 12, is competing in Sound of Music — building a xylophone — and entymology.

“It’s fun to do,” he said. “It gives me a lot of education I probably wouldn’t get otherwise.”

The first-place team at state will be eligible to compete at the national contest May 17-18 at the University of Central Florida.