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Science Olympiad Team Places Second in Arkansas State Tournament

Saturday, April 7, a team of 15 Central Arkansas Christian high school students placed 2nd in the Arkansas State Science Olympiad Tournament held at the University of Arkansas Little Rock.

According to Erik Schramm, CAC Science Olympiad sponsor, 18 schools from around the state competed in this year’s tournament, including local schools like Central High, Little Rock Christian and LISA Academy.

The tournament is structured similarly to a track meet, with 21 events happening throughout the day in three categories: testing, lab and building. Individual medals are awarded for each event, and the total team placement is based on the sum of the scores. CAC competed in all 21 events and received a medal in seven.

Seniors Jonathan Hobby and Colby Quattlebaum competed in the Towers building event, Mousetrap Car building event, and the Hovercraft building event, placing 2nd in both the Mousetrap and Hovercraft events. Mr. Schramm spoke to the process of building the hovercraft.

“It’s essentially a piece of Styrofoam with a trash bag glued underneath that can be inflated by a fan. He stuck a fan down through a hole in the Styrofoam to inflate the bag, and he added a fan on the back that propels it forward” Mr. Schramm said. “It was working beautifully by the time we went to the competition, but it was a rough road getting there. He did really well and ended up getting second place.”

Hobby estimated that he built 15 different prototypes before cracking the code to make it work.

“I finally got one to work at 10 o’clock the night before,” Hobby said. “I tried all different types to figure out what was wrong. They would inflate, but they have to inflate with the batteries and then have a fan that would push that weight. Getting that weight ratio was tough.”

Students who participate in Science Olympiad anticipate challenges and learn to work through seemingly impossible situations. Each event is a partner event, which gives them the ability to foster collaboration as they problem solve, according to Mr. Schramm.

“I like science, but I really like the building parts of science,” Hobby said. “It’s cool to build something from scratch and see it compete and hopefully win. But really, it’s just fun to be in close proximity with other people and work with my friends.”

Senior Brittney Perry competed with a team in the Chemistry Lab event, Anatomy and Physiology testing event and Experimental Design event. While it may seem confusing to some as to why students would choose to study extra material in addition to their challenging workload, Perry said it was fun to hang out with her closest friends. She explained the process of getting ready for the Experimental Design event.

“So, for example, they might give you a ruler, some rubber bands and some paper clips and instructions to make an experiment that tests energy,” Perry said. “Then you have to sit there with your group of three people and figure out how to make a lab out of the stuff they gave you that tests energy. To practice, we would meet up on Thursdays before school and Mr. Schramm would give us materials and instructions.”

This is CAC’s sixth year to compete in the Arkansas Science Olympiad program, and Mr. Schramm said he is thankful for the various opportunities it gives his students to explore what they are interested in.

“Honestly, I think this is really great competition,” Mr. Schramm said. “There science competitions that are really specific and focused on one thing, like robotics. The thing I like about Science Olympiad is the variety. There are 21 events and that lets them select what they are interested in. Conrad Fletcher, for instance, wanted to do astronomy. I’ve never had a student interested in doing astronomy, but he wanted to do it and got fourth doing it, and I’m really proud of him.”