Science Olympiads experiment for success

After taking seventh place at Shawnee Mission South’s competition, Science Olympiad members look forward to the rest of the season.


Ankit Kadakia

Veronica McKinny and Daniel Wang compete in a segment of Shawnee Mission South’s Science Olympiad competition Nov. 9. The team took seventh overall.

Avery Mojica, Writer

How many two-inch textbooks would it take to get from the moon to the center of the Earth? Can an open cart carrying an egg travel the length of a flagpole without cracking it? These are some of the questions that the members of BVNW’s Science Olympiad club can answer. The club meets weekly to design projects and prepare for competitions ranging from topics from physics to anatomy. President Veronica McKinny says that the club is a great way to meet other people who share similar interests.

“Science Olympiad has given me a place to go where I can express my love for science,” McKinny said. “It also lets me apply what I’ve learned from my science classes into different competition aspects.”

For most of the competitions, adviser Theresa Rudnick said that many of the students choose to build things. She said one of the most interesting ones was a “Boomilever”; a bridge that is only attached on one side, and had weights hanging from the other one. The goal is to make the bridge carry as much weight as possible within certain parameters.

Aside from the building competitions, there is also a section for test-taking. The competitors can bring in notes with them to guide them through the test. According to McKinny, there is much preparation involved for competing in the different categories.

“I did a competition a few years ago with a weird question on it,” McKinny said. “It said ‘What is the thickness of an eggshell?’ You had to give the answer in exponent form. To do well, there’s a lot of random memorization of facts.”

The group headed to a competition at Shawnee Mission South on Nov. 9. The group competed in almost every category, and took a seventh place finish against 21 other schools. McKinny and Rudnick both said that they were very pleased with the team’s performance.

“We went in hoping to get experience and an idea of what to expect later,” Rudnick said. “Our performance is a win in my book.”

McKinny said she competed in three individual competitions. The first involved building a bungee cord that could hit a target. The second involved the study of bugs, also known as entomology. McKinny said that the third competition was chosen at random.

“The competition is called ‘Technical Problem Solving’,” McKinny said. “They choose two broad topics from either physics, chemistry, or biology. This year, the topic was thermodynamics (study of heat) and electro-blading. In 50 minutes, I had to do a lab and a test.”

With the team’s success, McKinny said she is anticipating the next tournaments, and is also already looking ahead to the state competition.

“There were a lot of other very competitive schools present at the competition,” McKinny said. “Since we beat them, we have a good chance of going to state.”