Students at Chinook who are interested in science have few options for pushing their learning outside of the classroom. Due to curriculum constraints and class size, many of these students are not able to reach their full potential within the class. To provide a meaningful, fun, resource for these students, we are starting a Science Olympiad team at Chinook Middle School this year. ~ Shawn Connolly, Chinook Middle School
We have the motivated students and several interested teachers and community mentors, including a mentoring partnership with Aviation High School. What we are missing, however, are materials to get our program off the ground. Many of the other teams in the competition have had years of time and PTA money to build large collections of books for studying, chemicals for testing and tools and materials for building that we do not have. We are left with an Internet connection and a few old textbooks from our classes. We feel that with the funds provided by the Excel Grant, we can give our students the materials they deserve to push their thinking and turn their dreams of being an engineer, doctor, scientist, or whatever it may be into more of a reality.
This grant was a huge success. We wanted to start a Science Olympiad team here at Chinook Middle school, but were worried that funding constraints would keep us from being able to get the needed supplies and books, or pay for things like entry fees to competitions. Because of this grant, we were able to buy a large library of science books ranging from middle-school-level to college-level to push our kids’ learning; tools and materials and to build boomilevers and helicopters and egg drops and rubber-band cars; and tools and manipulatives to learn more about chemistry, electricity and physics for their lab events. Our team got off to a great start and we’ll definitely be around for years to come.
RESULTS!!! This grant through Highline Schools Foundation made it possible for us to start a robust science olympiad team in our first year. We competed in two competitions, coming in 5th overall in the regional Science Olympiad competition at Highline Community College as the highest-scoring new team in the region. We were only a few points away from qualifying for the state competition. Repeatedly at these competitions we were complimented on how well-prepared our team was for a first-year team, and I know that we have your grant to thank for much of that.
Science Olympiad is a nation-wide organization that runs competitions in the spring. The competitions are like academic track meets, consisting of a series of 23 team events. There are three types of events: test-based study events such as Heredity, Anatomy, Meteorology, and Entomology, in which a pair of students answer written questions about each subject; lab-based events such as “Crime Busters” (forensics) and “Can’t Judge a Powder” (chemistry) in which a pair of students demonstrate various laboratory techniques to solve real-world problems; and building events such as Helicopters, Boomilever (weight-bearing structure), Robo-cross (robotics), sound of music (musical instruments) and rotor egg drop, in which students build a contraption in advance to perform a task or demonstration at the competition.
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