Polymer outreach another great success at the 2017 King and Friends Science Olympiad



Prof. Yu Zhu working with students observing a demonstration of a solar cell

On Sunday, March 5, the King and Friends Science Olympiad had its final competition and awards celebration at the Goodyear Polymer Center, wrapping up another great year where students participated in fun, exciting, and challenging events.

The events were held every Sunday from January 22 to March 5 in the Goodyear Polymer Science building. In addition to parent coaches, faculty and graduate students from DPS coached two events, along with two high school student coaches who had participated in Science Olympiad when they were younger.

This was the 7th year of the King and Friends Science Olympiad. In addition to King Elementary School, 32 students from five schools (Bettes Elementary School, Litchfield CLC, Miller South School for the Visual and Performing Arts, Minerva Elementary School, Portage Path CLC) participated in up to four events each.

The College of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering hosts the Olympiad beginning with weekly team practices that start in January and conclude in March with the main competition. Every King Elementary School student, former King students, and friends from neighboring areas in grades 2 to 6 were eligible to practice for up to four events.


Megan waits to launch off her rocket while Coach Kevin pumps air into the rocket

Not only does the college host the Olympiad, but faculty and students are instrumental in its success by volunteering as coaches. Department of Polymer Science Chair, Coleen Pugh, helped coach Science Sampler, an event where students investigated a variety of projects, such as a chemistry experiment, barge building, "estimania", and "sink or float". Professor Yu Zhu coached Smart Films, introducing young students to polymers and the assembly of electronic active thin films for various interesting applications. And Polymer Science students Rodger Dilla and Kevin Endres helped coach Water Rockets, an event where students built a rocket, in advance, out of a 2-liter soda bottle, making alterations each week and adding a parachute to help it stay aloft. The rocket that stayed in the air the longest was the winner!

Science Olympiad is a national program in which students learn science through active, hands-on participation, with an emphasis on problem solving and team-building skills. Students participate in events designed to be fun, exciting, and challenging. Some events require knowledge of science facts and concepts, while others rely on knowledge of scientific processes, skills or applications; therefore, students with varying abilities and skills can participate. The team spirit and good citizenship that students develop will be benefit them throughout their lives.

View this year's photo gallery