This weekend will see the best and brightest young minds of middle and high school age come together at the Science Olympiad, hosted by Texas A&M. This marks the 12th year that the youth of Texas have come for this competition where more than 1,000 will pit their scientific and engineering prowess against their peers in an intelligencia extravaganza.
All told there will be 62 teams from all over Texas who have spent months locked in research and development to show their mettle in the world of hard science, innovative engineering, and cutting-edge technology.
The Science Olympiad is a stringent and very competitive event for the true academics. The talent and passion that is shown by these young people is truly inspiring, and the display of ingenuity and lateral thinking is more exciting than many game shows.
The teams will be asked numerous questions, but more than that they will be asked to put theory into practice by building simple machines from everyday items in order to complete a task. This will prove not only the students’ knowledge, but their lateral thinking abilities and mental dexterity.
They will need to operate both individually and as a team to meet the challenges put before them. Their cerebral gymnastics must be matched by an ability to work in concert, like the most expertly crafted Swiss clock.
The goal of this competition is to give the intellectuals a chance to meet on a level playing field with those whose minds are honed to a razor’s keenness. Texas might be a state known for its football, but these kids prove that throwing a ball is not the only thing the youth of Texas can do when they are put to the test.
Every different skillset is represented at the Science Olympiad, says Dr. Nancy Magnussen, director of the Texas A&M College of Science Educational Outreach and Women’s Programs Office and state director for the Texas Science Olympiad. “What we, as well as the students and teachers, love about Texas Science Olympiad is that it allows participation by all types of students — those that are academically gifted as well as those who are master builders and craftsmen,” she said. “The amateur astronomer or rock hound or robotics specialist is provided a venue where they can show off their knowledge and skills, and where the emphasis is placed on active, hands-on group participation.”
The competition is ongoing throughout Saturday, with winners being announced this evening for anyone in the area that wants to cheer on bright young minds. Full Texas A&M Science Olympiad information can be found here.