Texas A&M University-Kingsville

A&M-Kingsville To Host South Texas Science Olympiad

KINGSVILLE - February 21, 2007

Contact: Julie Navejar
kajam03@tamuk.edu or 361-593-2590

Participants are from Austin, Bishop, Flour Bluff, Kingsville, Laredo and San Antonio

KINGSVILLE (February 21, 2007) — The Special Programs Upward Bound Math and Science unit at Texas A&M University-Kingsville will host the South Texas Science Olympiad Saturday, Feb. 24. Students in the Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program will act as mentors for the day.

During the Olympiad, approximately 150 students from middle and high schools will compete in a wide variety of science categories. Middle schools attending include Flour Bluff Junior High School and Harmony Science Academy from Austin and San Antonio. High schools attending are H.M. King High School, Bishop High School, Magnet for Engineering and Technology Applications from Laredo and McCollum High School of San Antonio.

Check-in will be held in second floor lobby of the Memorial Student Union Building (MSUB) from 7:30 to 8 a.m. The opening ceremony will follow at 8 a.m. in ballroom A.

Several of the events involve bringing an already-prepared entry that will be judged at the competition where others require thinking on the fly. Those prepared ahead of time, will be impounded in the event location at 9 a.m.

Three of the events, Rocks and Minerals, Disease Detective and Write It/Do It, are held in both the middle and high school divisions and each division has eight different categories just for their age group.

Five competitions begin at 9 a.m., including Anatomy, directed by Dr. Javier Martinez, research scientist with the Natural Toxins Research Center. Anatomy will be held in room 221A of the MSUB. Teams will be tested on their knowledge of anatomy and health concepts.

Heredity also begins at 9 a.m. in room 315 of the Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy. Students will analyze data or diagrams and solve problems using their knowledge of the basic principles of genetics. Dr. Lacy Daniels, professor of pharmaceutical sciences, will conduct this competition.

Mission Possible will be held at 9 a.m. in Mesquite Room of the MSUB and will be conducted by Dr. Rajat Sethi, assistant professor of pharmaceutical sciences. Participants will design and build a Rube Goldberg-like device that will demonstrate a series of energy transfers to accomplish a specific task.

Rocks and Minerals, directed by Dr. Thomas McGehee, professor in the physics and geosciences department, will be held in room 129 of Manning Hall. Students will identify, describe and classify various specimens.

Dr. Gregory Moehring, professor and chair of chemistry, will lead the Chemistry Lab competition in room 260 of Nierman Hall. Teams will demonstrate chemistry lab skills related to selected topics.

Robot Ramble will be held at 9:30 a.m. in room 219C of the MSUB. Teams will design and build a robot capable of performing certain tasks on a prescribed plain field. Each team may enter one robot that must be built prior to the competition. Dr. Olanrewaju Aluko, assistant professor of mechanical and industrial engineering, will lead this competition.

Disease Detective also will be held at 9:30 a.m. in room 103 of the Biology Earth Science Building. This event requires students to apply principles of epidemiology to a published report of a real-life health situation or problem. Dr. Manuel A. Soto, associate biology professor, will conduct this test.

Tower Building will begin at 9:30 p.m. in room 219B of the MSUB. The objective of this event is to design and build the lightest tower, with the highest structural efficiency, capable of supporting a load of up to 15 kg. This group will be lead by Dr. Francisco Aguiniga, assistant professor of civil and architectural engineering.

Designer Genes will begin at 10 a.m. in room 221A of the MSUB. Students will solve problems using their knowledge of genetics. This contest will be lead by Martinez.

Science Crime Busters will be lead by Moehring at 10 a.m. in room 212 of Nierman Hall. Teams will identify the perpetrators of a crime or crimes by using paper chromatography and analysis of unknown solids, liquids and plastics found at the crime scene.

Dr. Jon Baskin, biology professor, will lead Science Words at 10 a.m. in room 208 of the Biology Earth Sciences building. Teams will take turns using a set of scientific terms or concepts while the other team member guesses the terms.

Scrambler, lead by Dr. Larry Peel, associate professor of mechanical and industrial engineering, will be held at 10 a.m. in room 219A of the MSUB. Teams will design and build a mechanical device, which uses the energy from a falling mass to transport a Grade A uncooked chicken egg along a straight track.

Storm the Castle will be held at 12:30 p.m. in the courtyard of the MSUB. Teams will design, construct, calibrate and operate a device capable of launching a projectile as far and accurately as possible using only the energy of a falling counterweight. Dr. Amit Cholkar, associate professor of mechanical and industrial engineering, will lead this contest.

Peel will conduct the Wheeled Vehicle competition at 12:30 p.m. in room 219A of the MSUB. Teams will design and construct a vehicle that uses a nonmetallic, elastic solid as its sole means of propulsion.

Metric Mastery will be lead by Andrew Mason, McNair Scholar, at 12:30 p.m. in the Alumni Room of Honor in the MSUB. Students will demonstrate an intuitive feeling for estimating and later for measuring different events and objects using metric units.

Dr. Paul Cox, professor in the physics and geosciences department, will conduct the Physics Lab contest in room 104 of Hill Hall. Teams will demonstrate physics lab skills related to selected topics.

Write It/Do It will take place at 1 p.m. in the Mesquite Room in the MSUB. This is a technical writing exercise where students write a description of a contraption and other students will attempt to recreate it using only the written descriptions. Mayra Alayon Hough, associate director of special programs, will lead this division.

Forensics also begins at 1 p.m. in room 315 of the Pharmacy Building. Daniels will direct this contest. Competitors will be given a scenario and some suspects and will be asked to perform a series of tests, which will lead them to solving a crime.

Health Science will begin at 1 p.m., also in room 312 of the Pharmacy Building. The event will encompass the basic anatomy and physiology of the urinary, endocrine and nervous system in health and disease. Sethi will lead this group.

An awards ceremony will be held at 3:30 p.m. ballroom A of the MSUB.

For more information about the South Texas Science Olympiad, call 361-593-2241.

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