Seven first-place finishes in one-third of the event categories propelled Northfield Elementary School in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, to the team championship in the 13th Elementary Science Olympiad, held recently at John Pittard Elementary School.
Northfield students made huge strides from their 11th-place finish in 2019, the last time Elementary Science Olympiad was held because of precautions surrounding the coronavirus from 2020-22.
Elementary Science Olympiad is held so youngsters can learn as teams and individuals basic concepts in STEM — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — and, hopefully, increase their interest in middle school and high school, to potentially pursue in college and in their careers.
The event was directed by Middle Tennessee State University chemistry professor Pat Patterson, who, once again, lined up MTSU faculty and 13 upper division physical science experiential learning students and volunteers to run the day-long event.
Finishing second was Discovery School, the 2019 overall winner, with Blackman, Overall Creek, Tulip Grove and Bradley Academy elementary schools rounding out the top six.
Students competed April 27 in 20 categories, including “Bridge Building,” “Deep Blue Sea,” “Disease Detective,” “Solid, Liquid or Gas” and “Weather or Not.”
“Out tournament was quite successful,” Patterson said, adding that coaches/teachers from the schools prepared more than 120 students for the competition that awarded first- through sixth-place team trophies and medals for individual students.
Patterson announced she will be stepping down as director of both the Elementary and Regional Science Olympiads. Kevin Ragland, Tennessee STEM Education Center associate director, will oversee those events in 2024.
Chemistry is one of 11 College of Basic and Applied Sciences departments and the Tennessee STEM Education Center is an area that’s a part of the science college.
— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)
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