Science Olympiad Nationals This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Most people couldn't tell you how to spell "mycelium" let alone tell you what it does. But for three days you could find nearly one thousand who could do both at the National Science Olympaid Finals at North Carolina's State University.

From a student's point of view, the Science Olympiad is a set of science-oriented events, similar to the Olympics. It lets students utilize their science knowledge through applications and tests. Building events, such as tower and egg drops, stress mechanical knowledge and workmanship. Other events, such as earth science, bio-process lab, and simple machines require high-level comprehension of topics and techniques.

Because many events require a two- or three-person team, the entire team advances from regional to state to national competition. Teamwork is required of each member.

Booth Middle School from Georgia took first place of the fifty-two teams that competed.

Special congratulations are due them, for all their hard work.

Although my own state's team didn't win, we did learn quite a bit. J.P., for example, can tell you anything you want to know about plants as a result of trying to prepare for the national competition - even what the mycelium does for a fungi, though that was not his main focus. Or there's Dave, who can glide a hand-crafted paper airplane through that famous composition of 80% nitrogen and 19% oxygen for over ten seconds. I would challenge anyone to try that, making sure the wingspan is at least 25 centimeters. And although his time wasn't the longest, it earned him a well-deserved ninth place.

Particupating in this year's Nationals, I realized you cannot take anything for granted. The best thing you can do is to prepare for everything, and the same goes for life. Always be more prepared than you think is necessary, and have a backup if something fails.

Being a part of the Science Olympiad for me was more than winning. It was about teamwork, knowledge, and great experiences. This is one science event that is hard to pass up. And of the hundreds attending, most could either tell you what a mycelium is, or could point you to someone who could; that's just part of the Science Olympiad. u


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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