Budding scientists to visit UCCS Saturday

UCCS will host the Colorado Science Olympiad Southern Regional Tournament for middle and high school students from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 3.

More than 900 middle school and high school students from around southern Colorado will compete in events that range from building a Rube Goldberg machine to “CSI”- style forensics exercises and musical instrument building contests. Events will take place at several locations on campus. For specific event locations and times, visit http://coloradoscienceolympiad.org/COscio2012-schedule.html

Sixty-one teams from communities throughout the area including Rifle, Eagle, Bailey, Ouray, Swink, Pueblo, Alamosa, Colorado Springs, Monument and south Denver are currently scheduled to participate in Saturday’s events. Each team has 15 students and two to three teachers who work as coaches.

This year, the teams will be entertained by the Physics is Phun organization from the United States Air Force Academy. Physics is Phun is an education outreach program run by the USAFA Physics Department to show children how fun physics, science, and mathematics can be. Guests will see physics experiments using a Van de Graff electrostatic charge generator, a Thompson Tower, and a vat of liquid nitrogen to demonstrate science.

Medals will be presented to the top three finishers in each event with trophies, plaques and ribbons to the top five teams. The winners will be eligible to proceed to an April 21 state competition.

UCCS has hosted the Southern Regional Science Olympiad for more than a decade.

“It’s a great event, seeing so many kids excited about science and engineering,” Kathleen Fitzpatrick, programs manager, Center for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Education, UCCS, said. “This event is fanning the fire in our next generation of scientists and engineers.”

More than 125 individuals from the UCCS community, U.S. Air Force Academy and industry will donate their Saturday to assist with the event.

“We couldn’t make this happen without them. A special thanks to all the volunteers,” Fitzpatrick said.

Science Olympiad is a national non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of K-12 science education, increasing male, female and minority interest in science, creating a technologically literate workforce and providing recognition for outstanding achievement by both students and teachers. These goals are achieved by participating in Science Olympiad tournaments and non-competitive events, incorporating Science Olympiad into classroom curriculum and attending teacher training institutes. For more information about Science Olympiad in Colorado, visit http://coloradoscienceolympiad.org.

The Center for Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics Education, part of the National Institute of Science, Space and Security Centers at UCCS, aims to enhance the workforce of scientists and engineers through programs and activities that target elementary through college students and teachers. The center divides its activities into teacher professional development, student curriculum, teaching and learning research and development, and student success intervention.

A video of the National Science Olympiad appears below.

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