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Annual math & science contests scheduled

2/20/2006 —
Every year, the month of March brings hundreds of high school students to Penn State Wilkes-Barre to compete in regional math and science competitions.

On Monday, March 6, fifteen teams comprised of students from ten area schools will meet at the campus in the Center for Technology to compete in The Junior Engineering Technical Society’s (JETS) Tests of Engineering Aptitude, Mathematics, and Science (TEAMS). In this one-day, two-part test, students use their logic and problem-solving skills in applying facts and formulas to solve real-life engineering problems. Designed to introduce students to a “team based” work environment, TEAMS also encourages students to think critically across a variety of academic areas.

Each team competes at the Varsity or Junior Varsity level in one of nine school-based divisions. Divisions are determined by school size and selectivity of admissions. Top-scoring teams in each division, in each state, will be eligible for national ranking, which will be determined by performance on Part II of the two-part test. Regional awards are issued based upon performance on Part I of the test. For more information, contact John Barnes, admissions officer, at 570-675-9229 or visit the JETS web site: http://www.jets.org/

On Wednesday, March 8, approximately 1,000 students from 65 high schools and middle schools from as far away as Lock Haven to the west, the New York border to the north, the New York/New Jersey border to the east, and Lehighton to the south, will converge on the campus to compete in the Northeast Regional Science Olympiad. Through the excitement of competition, the Science Olympiad stimulates interest and encourages learning in biology, earth science, chemistry, physics, problem solving, and technology.

A total of 23 science and engineering events are held in each division. From high-flying bottle rockets to science crime busters and meteorology, students use their knowledge and skills to compete in a wide array of categories. Robots built, eggs dropped, crime scenes analyzed, insects identified, computing skills tested, and satellite images interpreted are all in a days work at the Science Olympiad.

Both personal and team awards and medals are presented at the end of the day. The top six teams from the middle schools and the top seven teams from the high schools advance to state competition at Juniata College in April. From there, the two top teams in each division proceed to national competition.

Dr. Dudley Snyder, assistant professor of chemistry at Penn State Wilkes-Barre and Northeast Science Olympiad Regional Director, has overseen direction of the Olympiad at the campus since 1992. For more information, contact Dr. Snyder at dcs10@psu.edu or visit the Science Olympiad web site: http://www.soinc.org/. In event of inclement weather, Science Olympiad snow dates are March 9 and 10.
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