Remember a little over a month ago when Asher and Micah participated in a Science Olympiad Invitational with their little homeschool team? Well, the Regional competition was yesterday. (Colorado hosts two Regional competitions. This was the Northern Regional event. From here, teams that qualify move on to the State competition.)
Differences between the Invitational and the Regional events?
1) They actually ran all of the 23 events. At the Invitational, none of the build events were run (to save the various contraptions from possible damage and to maintain their design "secrecy"). This means that the Wright Stuff event, that Asher (and another teammate) have been working on, happened. Here's our team just before the event:
The event involves making, testing, and flying an airplane powered by a twisted rubber band, with the goal of achieving the longest flight duration. (There were also a number of restrictions and requirements regarding what they could use and how big/small things could be.) Each team got two flights...longest time counts.
Our first flight went decently. Unfortunately, the plane landed in the bleachers instead of the open gym. It sustained some damage that the boys didn't notice before the second flight...meaning that the second flight didn't go well. (Coaches/parents weren't allowed to be on the floor with the boys or discuss anything with them once they'd begun. Technically, the boys could have taken the time to repair their plane before the second flight had they noticed the damage. Then again, they were both quite pressed for time, as things were running a bit behind and they were both needed in other events mere minutes from then. (Asher ended up sprinting to his next event and made it *just* before they shut the door.))
Still. Even with all that, their plane ended up in fourth place! With some adjustments, they think/hope that they'll do even better at the State competition. :)
2) Since all of the build events were being run (at various times throughout the day), there was much less time for the kids for just sitting together at our "base" area. (We parents still ended up doing our fair share of sitting...between making sure the kids got to the right areas.) We were fortunate, too, that one of our coaches staked out a table for us away from most of the loudness in the cafeteria, where most of the other teams were set up.
3) At the Invitational, there were 16 teams altogether in the building. At Regionals, there were 46 middle school teams and 29 high school teams altogether in the building. Yeah. It was crazy crowded. (Originally, the middle school teams were supposed to be competing elsewhere but scheduling fell through or something and they decided to put both events in the same place.)
I have to admit, I was skeptical. But, with the exception of a few small things, the event ran pretty smoothly. I was impressed.
So. Here are some other pictures from yesterday:
Clockwise from the top left: a better picture of our team shirts, complete with their chosen mascot--Steve, the Pessimistic Cow (which Micah drew)...our team "area"...watching the Wright Stuff event...Asher prepping their plane...Micah enjoying ice cream at Coldstone after all the events were over and before the awards ceremony started. (Our entire team ended up there...yum!)
Just before the ice cream, we made the kids let us take a group picture:
We did get a few before this, but getting them all to look at the same time wasn't really working. ;)
And then they did the awards ceremony.
And our little nine kid homeschool team rocked.
They took home medals (top three) in nine events...which was the second highest medal count for a team!
Beyond the individual event medals, scoring worked such that you got points for your placement in each event...so first place got one point, last place or no shows got 45 points (because of the number of teams registered). (This was part of my boys' goals in being on the team...to contribute such that the team didn't have to accept the maximum points for failure to have people in all events.)
They then added points for all of the events to get your team total...lowest score wins. And, out of those 46 registered teams, our team came in FOURTH.
I'm so impressed by these kids. Our two third graders took third in Invasive Species. Third! That means those two 8-9 year old boys beat 43 other teams of middle schoolers in that event. One of the boys on our team medaled in six of the events he competed in (when most kids there were only competing in two events...as I mentioned before, because our team is smaller, our kids each had to compete in more events). Wow.
This was also a good lesson for my boys about setting goals and expectations. Micah was a little disappointed at not having gotten an individual medal. It was a good opportunity to discuss how that hadn't been his goal and how, relatedly, we had chosen not to put in as much time/effort as the others. (He and Asher didn't do poorly, by any means. Honestly, in most of their events, they did better than they should have compared to how much work they put in.) So. Good lesson in choices and priorities and effort. :) And now Micah's thinking he'd like to put in more work going forward to try to improve his contribution to the team.
Speaking of which...their team placement means that they get to advance to the State competition. (Advancement to State is based on the team overall score, not individual event placements...so you really do need a strong team rather than just a few star individuals.) That'll be in about six weeks. Wish us luck!