West Ottawa Science Olympiad

Jake Holstege

West Ottawa Science Olympiad

Instructor Cherylyn Weyhmiller stands up nervously. The door is closed and she has no idea how her team is doing during the event. Sr. Abigail Shepard and Jr. Alexander Ky are working on their forensics activity during the Portage Invitational during early December. Weyhmiller is unable to see how her team is doing during the event. She sits back down, but quickly stands back up in hopes that her team is doing their best.

  The Forensics activity is set-up just like a real crime scene.  The two have 55 minutes to solve the crime. They first receive background information on all the suspects: clothes, attitudes, friends.   They then receive unknown powders and other items that need to be tested.  The background information they receive also comes with questions that they must fill out.  At the end of time the judges grade the packets and whoever gets the best score is the winner for the round.  Science Olympiad is graded like golf.  At the end whoever did the best job gets the lowest score and the lowest score wins.

  Shepard and Ky worked together on the forensics activity. They walked into the room (crime scene) and automatically got to work. The goal of the forensics, as stated earlier, is to identify who committed the crime, and in order to do so, the team receives a list of suspects and items. Then, they must do test in order to come to a conclusions.  Although tensions were very high, Ky recalls it being fun. “Forensics with Abby is always a lot of fun because we usually do very well,” he said. When they get into the testing room, they receive a full list of suspects and traits about them. The group worked efficiently, each knowing their own strengths.  

  Ky’s strengths usually include the testing of the substances.  Ky tests the different powders with a variety of different tests.  He tests for flammability, solubility, benedicts, and HCL reacting.  Other parts of the testing that Shepard helps out in are the identifying of plastics, chromatography, blood, hair, and fibers.  The two come up with the conclusion and finish up their activity.

After the events take place, the teams travel to the gym for the awards ceremony.  WO was doing a great job during the ceremonies; then came the Forensics award.

The WOSO forensics event placed first. Ky stated that the competition was “not even close behind.” This is only one of success stories for the WOSO team. The Science Olympiad team, coached by Instructor Bob Myers and Weyhmiller,is a very prosperous. They have had one meet this season; during these meets there are 23 different events ranging from all sorts of different scientific concepts: biology, physics, and computer programming. “We currently have probably 25 to 30 kids in Science Olympiad,” Weyhmiller said; when the team reaches regionals they must choose only 15 kids for the final team.

WOSO is a great club at the high school; although they have already have their first meet it is not too late to join. If you are looking to join the team do not feel threatened by the fact that they have already had their first meet. “We’re just getting started,” Weyhmiller said. If you would like to join WOSO, feel free to contact Weyhmiller or Meyers through email or through popping into their classroom. There is also a website available at http://www.westottawa.net/science-olympiad/