Science Olympics enjoyed by middle school girls

“At Lauralton Hall, we believe in empowering women for life,” says President Antoinette (Toni) Iadarola, Ph.D. “We encourage students to strive for excellence in all that they do. The recent summer Olympics in London remind us that even the highest goals are attainable.” On September 22, teams of middle school girls from Fairfield and New Haven Counties had the opportunity to go for the Olympic gold. However, instead of winning medals in beach volleyball and synchronized swimming, they competed in fun, problem solving science projects at Lauralton’s eighth annual fall Science Olympics.

Historically, girls have been underrepresented in science and engineering. Offering the Science Olympics is one of the many ways that Lauralton Hall encourages young women to get “psyched about science”. With help from Lauralton faculty and students, participants worked together in teams on challenging activities such as creating a bottle rocket, determining and graphing then decay of carbon atoms, engineering the construction of the most stable bridge, breaking the code of an ancient language

Science teacher Susan Cavar, Ph.D. feels the Science Olympics are extremely valuable for middle grade girls. “Studies show that girls have negative attitudes towards math and science,” said Dr. Cavar. “This translates into reduced involvement in these fields in high school, college and career choice. Although performing better than middle school boys, they participate less and have high levels of anxiety and little confidence in their abilities. The Science Olympics is the perfect opportunity for girls to shine, increase their confidence, and be around others that share their love of science.”

One of the highlights of the day was a presentation by Horizon Wings, a non-profit Wildlife Rehabilitation Center specializing in Birds of Prey. The girls loved seeing different types of raptors up close and they loved the organization’s mascot Beamer, a turtle with a prosthetic leg made from a Lego trike.

Olympian champion teams include:

6th grade

1st:  The Darwinians from Assumption School

2nd: The Molecules from Greenwich Catholic

3rd:  The Orbitals from Benjamin Jepson School

7th grade

1st:   The Electrons from St. Lawrence School 

2nd:  The Vertebrates from Our Lady of Victory 

3rd:   The Bunsen Burners from Greenwich Catholic 

8th grade

1st:  The Alkanes from Seymour Middle School

1st:  The Alkanes from Seymour Middle School

2nd:  The Spleens from Unquowa School 

3rd:  The Nuclei from Greenwich Catholic 

Lauralton science teacher Jennifer Shea was highly impressed with the caliber of the competitors and their enthusiasm for science. “We hope to see you all back again for the spring Olympics!” she said. Lauralton is grateful to Subway for donating sandwiches to the hard-working ‘Olympians’.

 

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