Brainpower overwhelms odds for
Ephraim at State Science Olympiad
By Linda Petersen
Apr. 19, 2018
Despite going into the Utah State Science Olympiad with an obvious handicap, Ephraim Middle School’s team still performed well.
There are 24 events in the Olympiad. But the Ephraim team did not qualify for state in Hovercraft at region this year.
“This is the first year we did not participate in all events so the chance of us getting in the top 10 was slim,” team coach Linda Flitton said, “but since the kids did so well in their individual placements we made it, taking eighth place. It was really amazing.”
Seventeen eighth graders participated in 23 of the events in the areas of: life personal and social science; earth and space science, physical science and chemistry; technology and engineering design; and inquiry and nature of science.
Flitton said she has a large group of volunteer parents who help coach team members.
“I just go out and find parents who already have majors in the different areas and who are willing to get in and get their elbows dirty,” she said.
Kaulin Neilson and Matthew Olsen took first place in Battery Buggy by building a battery-powered robot to complete an obstacle course.
The two students also received second place in Wright Stuff, where teams build a wooden airplane powered by a twisted rubber band. The team whose plane flew the longest won the event.
The entire team received the Spirit of Sportsmanship award, which is given to the team that best exemplifies good sportsmanship, team collaboration and school spirit.
A team from Manti High School also did well at the Olympiad. While there are usually 15 members on Manti’s team, since the Olympiad was held on Easter weekend at the end of spring break, just seven team members made it to the March 31 event at the University of Utah.
Despite their small numbers, the Manti team competed in 20 of the 24 events. Each team member competed in multiple events. At the end of the day, the team finished a respectable 19th out of 27 participating schools.
“The students who went did really well; they worked really hard on their events,” coach Jared Eliason said.
Junior Andrew Olsen did particularly well. He competed in four events with his partners and placed in the top five in all of them.
Andrew and his partner Meagan Dennis took second place in Towers, a competition where teams design and build a tower to carry a maximum standard load. The tower must span a predetermined opening and support a load at a minimum height.
Andrew and Hope Marsing took third place in Mousetrap Car, an event where teams design and build a vehicle which uses one or two single-spring as its only sole source of energy for propulsion.
Meagan and Andrew took fourth in Helicopters and fifth in Mission Possible, where they designed and built a device that uses a chain reaction to accomplish a simple task in a complicated manner.