Brandywine to compete in Science Olympiad
Published 10:03 am Monday, March 3, 2014
Stephanie Collins and Taylor Kangis stood in teacher Catherine Bronsing’s classroom at Brandywine High School, each holding a paper airplane in their hands.
Kangis’ airplane had a paper clip attached to the nose of the plane, while Collins’ did not.
When both threw their planes into the air, Kangis’ plane travelled the farthest.
“That wasn’t my hypothesis,” said Kangis, a freshman. “I thought adding the paper clip wouldn’t help it fly.”
The students’ paper plane experiment was part of the Brandywine Science Olympiad team’s practice for today’s Berrien Regional Education Service Science Olympiad competition at Lake Michigan College in Benton Harbor. The Science Olympiad is an opportunity for Berrien County students to learn about science using hands-on skills and knowledge. Winners for each division in the event, which begins at 9 a.m., advance to the state level.
Bronsing, who coaches Brandywine’s middle school team, said there are several benefits for students participating on the Science Olympiad team.
“One of the things I like is I see a camaraderie that builds between the kids because they have an interest in science,” she said. “The other thing is when they go they learn new skills. As a teacher, I find that I get a better caliber student after this event. And they have fun. Most kids don’t realize they can have fun doing science.”
Students have the opportunity to participate in a wide range of events at the Science Olympiad, from “disease detectives” to “crime busters,” where students are challenged to work a crime scene.
“It is like doing sports, but with a science theme,” Bronsing said. “The idea behind it is that students are working in all aspects of science. There’s physics, there’s biology, there’s chemistry and earth science.”
Collins, a junior, is in her third year on the team. She will compete in “experimental design” and “anatomy” events.
For anatomy, Collins will have a limited amount of time to correctly label the parts of the human body.
“Being on this team has helped me communicate better because I don’t feel comfortable talking to people a lot,” she said. “It also helps me with my science. I want to become a registered nurse, so knowing the human system for anatomy is helpful.”
Bronsing said 19 people are participating on Brandywine’s Science Olympiad teams at the middle school and high school level.
She hopes to get even more next year.
“It opens kids eyes to different opportunities in science. They don’t all have to be one type of scientist. They can do all sorts of things,” she said. “Students that didn’t think they could do well in science — all of a sudden their eyes are open and they feel more confident about science.”