Ingenuity rules day at Science Olympiad in RP
Local students take top prizes at LJMS event
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By Natalie Gray  May 3, 2013 12:00 am

With a colorful banner stretched along the corner wall of the gymnasium that reads, “Never settle for less than your best,” Lawrence Jones Middle School played host to the largest Science Olympiad Sonoma County has ever seen this past Saturday.

The Science Olympiad is an interactive event for students in the fourth, fifth and sixth grades to exercise teamwork, science skills, learn and, of course, have fun. More than 15 schools attended the event, with parents and teacher-coaches in tow, including local schools Evergreen Elementary, Monte Vista Elementary, Waldo Rohnert and Penngrove Elementary.

“It’s fun to hang out with other grades and learn,” said Monte Vista student Daniela Canett. She was one of 23 students from her school and claims she did in fact have lots of fun.

The Science Olympiad invites schools to attend with science-interested students and participate as teams representing their schools in multiple science-related interactive activities that notably focus on life, Earth and physical science.

Some events include activities like the Calculator Contest, “Describe it, Make it” and Science Jeopardy. The final event was the “Naked Egg Drop,” the only event that invited all participating students, parents and teachers to watch. In this event, teams of two from each school were given a couple sheets of paper, scissors, tape and only a few minutes to construct an egg-catcher, a device that is meant to do exactly what it sounds like: safely catch a dropped egg. Each activity was judged and awarded first through fourth place.

“Whether you won or not, I hope you all had a good time,” said Mike Roa, science consultant and coordinator of the Olympiad to a gym full of eager students. “And if you did, then you’re a winner, too.”

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Schools from the Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District left with multiple awards, such as Evergreen earning multiple first-place ribbons in the calculator contest, the catapult experiment and received third-place in the naked-egg drop competition. It was the all-girl team of two from Penngrove Elementary that won the naked egg drop with their pink-paper catcher successfully catching their egg from a height of 3.1 meters.

A team of 12, under the leadership of coach Rudy Beasley from Marguerite Hahn Elementary, won the overall first place, honorable mention and was given a plaque to take home to prove it. Each school was given a goodies-bag filled with gift certificates for science supplies for the classroom and topped with a bundle of bright balloons.

“I think (the Olympiad) supports the kids’ interest in science,” said Roa. “They can learn some new things and have fun with each other and with science.”

According to Roa, Sonoma County Office of Education does not have the funds to put on and support such an event, and the Olympia was made possible only by the help of 31 sponsors and more than 40 donors. Most sponsors that helped the schools came locally, such as the Active 20/30 Club of Cotati, the Exchange Bank of Sonoma and the Sonoma County Retired Teachers Association. Supplies and materials for students and teachers came from donors, a long list including the California Agency of Science, Dairy Council of California, Save the Redwoods League and the Sonoma State University/NASA Outreach Program.

To find out more about the Science Olympiad or how to get your child involved in similar projects, visit the Sonoma County Office of Education at 


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