University News

22nd Annual Science Olympiad Set for Feb. 14

February 3, 2009

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MACOMB, IL - - More than 300 middle/junior high and high school students will visit Western Illinois University Saturday, Feb. 14 to demonstrate their scientific knowledge and technological skills at the 22nd Annual Illinois Science Olympiad Regional competition.

"Science Olympiad is not a science fair," said Don Powers, director of the Maurice G. Kellogg Science Education Center at Western. "It is more like a track-and-field meet with science events. It emphasizes practice, teamwork, competition and recognition with a goal to get students excited about science and pursue careers in technology fields."

The Regional Science Olympiad is comprised of 46 events -- 23 events for middle/junior high school students and 23 events for high school students -- in the areas of biology, chemistry, astronomy, earth science, physics, computers and technology.

"The energy at the tournament feels like a carnival instead of a scholastic competition," Powers explained. "The events also promote group planning and cooperation, while allowing students to engage in risk-taking, strategic-thinking and decision-making exercises."

Opening ceremonies are slated to begin at 8:15 a.m. in the University Union Heritage Room. The daylong event will feature 10 middle/junior high and 11 high schools participating in different events across the campus.

There will be competition in such events as: "Wright Stuff" (Brophy Hall gym) in which students design, build and test rubber band-powered airplanes; "It's about Time" (Horrabin Hall), an event in which students build and test their own timing devices; "Electric Vehicle, Trajectory" and "Elevated Bridge Building" (Horrabin Hall); the biology department (Waggoner Hall) will host events related to cells, bio-processes, amphibians and reptiles; the physics department (Currens Hall) will hold a physics lab and a technical problem-solving event; the chemistry department (Currens Hall) will conduct a chemistry lab event for high school students and a forensics competition for both the middle/junior high school and high school students; and Western's health sciences department will sponsor an anatomy and health science event.

During the Olympiad's closing ceremonies, which will begin at 3:30 p.m. in the Union's Heritage Room, WIU's Science Olympiad organizers will announce the individual event winners, as well as the teams that will be advancing to the Illinois Science Olympiad State Tournament, which will be held at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign on April 25.

The 22nd Regional Science Olympiad is hosted by Western's department of curriculum and instruction's Maurice G. Kellogg Science Education Center and the College of Education and Human Services. Additional support is obtained by the faculty and students of the departments of biological sciences, chemistry, dietetics, geology, kinesiology, mathematics and physics, as well as teachers from local schools.

The following west-central and central Illinois schools will participate by division. Division C is for grades 9-12; Division B is for grades 6-9:

Canton - - Canton High School (Div. C) and Ingersoll Middle School (Div. B)
Farmington - Farmington High School (Div. C) and Farmington Central Junior High School (Div. B)
Lewistown - - Lewistown High School (Div. C) and Lewiston Central Grade School (Div. B)

Hamilton - Hamilton High School (Div. C) and Hamilton Junior High School (Div. B)

Stronghurst – West Central Middle School (Div. B)

Havana - - Havana Junior High School (Div. B)
Mason City - - Illini Central High School (Div. C)

Macomb High School (Div. C) and Macomb Junior High School (Div. B)
Sciota -- West Prairie High School (Div. C)

Petersburg -- PORTA High School (Div. C) and PORTA Junior High School (Div. B)

Aledo Junior High School (Div. B)

Perry -- Griggsville-Perry Middle School (Div. B)

Rochester High School (Div. C)

Pekin Community High School (Div. C)

Monmouth-Roseville High School (Div. C)

Science Olympiad competition, a national pre-collegiate program designed to increase student interest in science, to improve the quality of science education in both middle and high schools and to provide recognition for outstanding achievement in science began in the state of Illinois in 1985. Today, the Olympiad has members in all 50 states totaling more than 12,000 actively participating K-12 schools.

For more information, contact Powers at (309) 298-1258 or A schedule of events for the 22nd Science Olympiad at WIU is available at

Posted By: Teresa Koltzenburg (
Office of University Communications & Marketing