Mousetrap vehicles and inventions: Science Olympiad takes part in state

Rieley Wilson, right and Brody Morton have some fun during Science Olympiad on Thursday at Chisholm Middle School. Wendy Nugent/Harvey County Now

By Wendy Nugent, Harvey County Now

NEWTON—Jude Oswald and Jenna Kopper invented a musical instrument called a rute that floated on a melody to Science Olympiad regional competition, where they placed first, and state competition, where they earned a second place award.

The rute is a cross between a flute and a recorder.

Kopper said they worked on it from November 2021 through January 2022. They were given medals to hang around their necks at state through the Newton Science Olympiad Team.

Science Olympiad is a program for fifth through eighth graders.

“It was made for the kids who were smart to do an after-school activity who didn’t want to do sports,” eighth grader Brody Morton said.

One of the team captains, Kiley Preheim, expanded on those thoughts.

“Chisholm [Middle School] has had a small science Olympiad team in the past,” she said. “As the new coach, I decided to reach out to my friend and colleague, Hannah Ramey, to see if we could get Santa Fe involved and get a larger team together. She was game for coaching, as well, and we rounded up a team of nearly 30 students. We technically had enough kids to register a Chisholm team and a Santa Fe team up until state, which we could only bring one team to.”

Morton said they study for events from physics to biology and building events.

“We have a bridge one,” Morton said about a building event.

He also said team members have made vehicles that have to roll up to 20 feet, he thought, powered by a mousetrap.

Oswald said there was a reason he and Kopper decided to make a rute.

“Because we both play flute,” he said. “We thought it’d be easier if we had the design of a flute.”

He showed a prototype they made that has the mouthpiece closer to the keys, saying they decided to spread the keys and mouthpiece apart more, with the mouthpiece not as close to the keys.

Kopper showed a design log the pair made of their build.

The local Science Olympiad has two teams—the Chisholm Middle School team and the Santa Fe 5/6 Center one, although members from one team can be on the other team, Morton said. All events are split into lab, study and build events, he added. In practice, they’re split up with the lab events studying with other labs and so on.

There are pre-invitational events to get the feel for how competition works and then invitational events. If you place in the top three, you go to regionals, and if you place in the top three there, you go to state, Morton explained.

For the Newton teams, it would’ve just been him and Rieley Wilson going to state, but then the team that placed third at regionals decided they didn’t want to go to state, so all the Newton students got to go because they placed fourth overall at regionals. At state, the Newton team received a third place award in the small school division.

The Newton team competed in all 23 events.

“I had five that I had to go to,” Morton said. “For Green Generation, we placed first in that because we got the highest score on the test.”

Bridge was Morton’s build event, he said, and they decided to judge the event on the lightest bridge that held the most weight.

State was April 2 at Wichita State University.

A couple of the local Science Olympiad students, Seth Esau and Wyatt Wilson, got sixth at state and second at regionals in ping pong parachute. On Thursday, they demonstrated their build.

“It’s basically a bottle rocket they made and [they need to] have the ping pong in the air as long as possible,” coach Ramey said.

The team began practicing on Tuesdays and Thursdays after school in November in Preheim’s Chisholm Middle School classroom.

“Our first meet was an invitational in January, then regionals in February, then state on April 2,” Preheim said. “State is not a given, but our students placed well enough at regionals that we qualified.”

The following are rankings for the local team at state, which was divided into large and small school divisions with Chisholm being classified as a small school. All of the students who competed at state helped the team achieve the overall third place award. Below, are students who competed at state, and there’s an asterisk for those who medaled in their events.

Scout Wedel

Seth Esau

Wyatt Wilson

Kiyah Zhuang

Gillian Monaghen

*Rieley Wilson (Bio Process Lab – 3rd place, Crime Busters – 3rd place, Green Gen – 1st place, Write It Do It – 2nd place)

*Brody Morton (Green Gen – 1st place)

*Ace King (Write It Do It – 2nd place, Crimebusters – 3rd place)

Sophia Eicher (Crimebusters – 3rd, Bio Process Lab – 3rd)

John Kirkpatrick

Keith Green

*Jude Oswald (Sounds of Music – 2nd)

Alfredo Rubio

Ashlee Manzano-Flores

*Jenna Kopper (Sounds of Music – 2nd)

Other students who were part of the team and competed at previous tournaments but did not compete at state had the opportunity to coach/mentor their teammates. Their names are:

Alexis Hernandez

Peyton Hennes

Noah Kopper

Isaac Graber

Zach Schmidt

John Horn

Ava Connor

Mady Gomez

Brooklyn Sanchez

Yuviah Escobar

Zeke Ramer


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