“80 percent of the people in the world learn hands on, so why don’t we give them those opportunities,” said Northern Illinois Science Olympiad Regional Director, Mike Manke.
High school and middle school students learned science the fun way this Saturday at the regional Science Olympiad competition at Rock Valley College.
“I’ve always kind of been in science,” said Auburn High School senior Nicholas Pagan. “This actually gives you a place to go hands on with it and do projects with it, so yeah it definitely makes me want to go into the scientific field more,” Pagan added.
Pagan and hundreds of other students competed in an array of scientific events from making hover crafts, helicopters, to robotic arms. The competition is something Co-Regional Director Fred Kunz, believes gives them an introduction to several scientific fields.
“It also gives the students opportunities to look into various areas and phases of science, not only for knowledge, but also for fun and enjoyment,” Kunz said.
“Every year has a bunch of different challenges,” Pagan said. “The rules are always changing and everything, so it’s always nice to come back and see if you can do better than you did last time,” he added.
Pagan and his teammate Steven Do created a robotic arm to pick up pennies to move around a designated target. “I learned a bunch about coding and everything with the arm so I’m kind of glad I learned that,” Pagan said. “Even if we didn’t do the best, that’s okay, because I still learned a bunch in the process,” he added.
Manke, believes the competition isn’t just simply to win, but to most of all have fun learning in the process.”We just want the kids to have fun, medals are great, not everyone is going to finish first,” Manke said. “We just want them to do their best,” he added.
The top five high school and middle school teams that competed will advance to the state competition at the University Of Illinois in April.