by George Zamora
SOCORRO, N.M., Feb. 15, 2006 – Some of the hottest wintertime rivalries outside of Torino will be played out later this month in Socorro as more than 800 student “intelletes” representing 25 middle schools and 25 high schools from throughout the state will tax their scientific knowledge — as well as their motor skills — in 45 spirited academic contests at the 20th Annual New Mexico Science Olympiad, which will be held on Saturday, February 25, on the New Mexico Tech campus.
Dreams of winning gold, silver, and bronze won’t be limited to this year’s XXth Winter Olympic Games, as teams of Science Olympians launch rockets propelled by compressed air and water, build Rube Goldberg contraptions, and construct efficient boomilevers, bridges, and robots in a quest for Olympic-style medals and a chance to represent their home state at the national level.
The top teams in both the middle school and high school levels, as determined by the state competition, will go on to represent New Mexico at the 2006 National Science Olympiad, which will be held on May 19-20, at Indiana University in Bloomington.
Science Olympiad is a nationwide program that uses tournament competition as a means to challenge and motivate science students in their academic pursuits. The competition requires teamwork, cooperation, planning, and months of practice, providing students with a working knowledge of facts, concepts, and processes, as well as helping them develop thinking skills through practical applications of science and engineering.