Windward Olympiad Tests Science Savvy

STEM has become a familiar term in the schools, and it doesn’t have to do with flora well, in some cases it does! It stands for science, technology, engineering and math.

A tournament with a range of STEM topics be it astronomy, biology, chemistry, engineering, genetics, medicine or rocketry arrives Saturday at Windward Community College, the staging are for one of five statewide competitions. They all lead up to the eighth annual Hawaii State Science Olympiad (HSSO) March 3 at Leeward Community College.

More than 70 middle and high school teams (about 1,200 students) from public, private, charter and home schools will compete a dramatic surge compared to only 48 teams last year, noted state Olympiad director Franklin Allaire.

“There are exam-type of events, and there are events where teams have to build contraptions that can carry a load, or fly for a long time, or use mousetraps to travel a certain distance,” explained HSSO spokesman and coordinator Helmut Kae. “It’s a competitive tournament, but also one where students push themselves for personal gain.

“The spirit at the tournament is something to behold,” he added, “seeing the kids get excited about science. Many who win are so relieved that their work has paid off, and those that don’t often speak about what they will do differently next year.”

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