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Soaked in science

District hosts its first middle grades Science Olympiad

Photo by Johnny Jackson 
Eight-graders John Brightwell (l) andJayden Kahtid, of M.D. Roberts Middle School, team up for an activity in which they built a tower out of drinking straws strong enough to hold a bar of soap.

Photo by Johnny Jackson Eight-graders John Brightwell (l) andJayden Kahtid, of M.D. Roberts Middle School, team up for an activity in which they built a tower out of drinking straws strong enough to hold a bar of soap.

HAMPTON — The water activity was canceled.

“It was rained out,” said Kristie Heath, who helped organize Clayton County Public Schools’ inaugural Science Olympiad.

Heath is the district’s gifted coordinator. She said despite Saturday’s rainy weather more than 200 students from around the county turned out.

The Science Olympiad was held at Eddie White Academy. It targeted science club students in grades four through six and included participants from 15 elementary and middle schools.

Eight-graders Jayden Kahtid and John Brightwell, from M.D. Roberts Middle School, teamed up for one activity and found a way to build a tower out of drinking straws that was strong enough to hold a bar of soap.

“Try this,” said a focused Kahtid, quietly huddled up with her teammate in a corner of the academy’s gymnasium.

Heath said the objective is to encourage students to participate in science activities.

“These active engagements are what we want to see in the everyday classroom,” she said.

Heath said the event served multiple purposes — to introduce students to academic competition, to help them hone critical thinking skills and to develop team working skills.

Malakia Wright, the district’s science coordinator, said the event helped reinforce what has already been taught in the science and engineering curriculum, which is based on the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards.

Students rotated through nine interactive events that included laboratory experiments, a science quiz bowl and a science pentathlon that involved physical activity.

The Science Olympiad was an all-day event that concluded with an awards and recognition ceremony. First-place overall went to Rex Mill Middle School. Second place went to M. D. Roberts Middle School and in third was Smith Elementary School.