By Alexander Xu
On Saturday, April 25th, 2015, OC Science hosted the Elementary Science Olympiad at the OC Fairgrounds. The Elementary Science Olympiad invited students from grades 3 to 5 to participate in fun activities: building roller coasters and exploring states of matter, just to name a few. The event lasted from 9 in the morning to 1:30 in the afternoon, during which each student had the opportunity to participate in two of eight total stations. Hundreds of elementary school students and their parents attended the event, which was run by groups of volunteers. Volunteer captains ran each station, which ranged from Astronomy to Crime Busters to Large Number Estimation, from Build It to Building Prokaryotes, and much more!
The stations were creative, fun, and well-designed. The student volunteers in charge of the stations had spent many hours working on their individual events. Many of the volunteers were also extremely enthusiastic about their assigned station. One captain I spoke to said, with conviction, that her station “was by far the most fun station.” Other captains shared similar sentiments.
One of the stations showcased creative ideas testing students’ senses. For example, the Sensory Challenge captain, Albert Wen, designed his station around the YouTube video Alarmageddon. His event tested students’ hearing and eyesight in a series of activities that revolved around optical and audio illusions, in order to demonstrate the importance of senses. Another station, Roller Coasters, was designed to teach students about physics and gravity, and tested how far students could launch a marble using a foam-tubing rollercoaster they built and designed at the Olympiad Invitational. A station that many students enjoyed was Solid Liquid Gas, where students observed changes in many of the states of matter. The captains, Amy Zhong and Michelle Jeon, showcased exciting demonstrations with dry ice, a substance that transforms from a solid straight into a gas. Each station was unique and offered students a great experience.
The students in attendance of the event were all extremely enthusiastic about the event as well. For some, the events at the Elementary Science Olympiad Invitational were a completely new experience: seeing dry ice and building their own roller coasters. For others, it was something they knew and loved, and they were experts at each station.
One student loved everything about the event. At the Sensory Challenge station, he experienced what he claimed to be one of the most exciting things at the whole event: one would attempt to follow the sound of a wooden handle being knocked against one of a series of buckets, and while blindfolded, try to throw a beanbag into that bucket.
Another student at the Solid Liquid Gas station said that his favorite thing, by far, was the dry ice, because “it was a solid and a gas at the same time!” The opportunity to work with chemical reactions (for example, mixing baking soda and vinegar) was also an exciting activity for the kids at that station as well.
Even the parents had a blast at the event. Many of the parents loved the front tables, where cool scientific activities were displayed for everyone to experiment with. They also loved the variety of stations there. One parent brought all three of her children to the event, one as a volunteer, and two as participants. She said that the event was “a great experience,” and that her children loved all the stations. Another parent said that all the exhibits were great ways to get children interested in science, and that the work being done was “very inspiring."
All in all, it’s safe to say that the event was a great success for parents, students, and OC Science volunteers.