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ISU Department of Physics hosts Science Olympiad for middle school students

April 5, 2011
ISU Marketing and Communications

Teams from Franklin Middle School in Pocatello and White Pine Charter School in Idaho Falls earned the top two spots at the eastern Idaho Science Olympiad hosted in March by the Idaho State University Department of Physics.

Irving Middle School of Pocatello placed third out of the eight teams of seventh- through ninth-graders. Also competing were students from Eagle Rock Junior High in Idaho Falls.

The teams competed with homemade water rockets, battery-powered buggies, catapults and towers. Students competed in a forensics challenge, tested their knowledge of electric circuits, and competed in five other fun science events, according to Steve Shropshire, ISU physics professor and event organizer.

Up to three students from each team could compete in each event. Students earning first, second and third place in each event where presented with gold, silver and bronze medals. The teams with the highest composite ranking over all events were presented with trophies.

The winning team from Franklin Middle School was comprised of Aaron Burton, Josh Calvin, Maggie Espinoza, Ashtyn Larson, Ethan Likness, Preslie Mayer, Luke Melacon, Robert Perkel, Austin Stokes, Nathan Thompson and Joseph Young, and was coached by Maria Wilson.

The second-place team from White Pine Charter School was comprised of Kendall Black, Tyler Caldwell, Ben Chutleigh, Christian Kuntz, Jonathan Malmo, Jacob Moore, Colton Rothamer and McKenzie Wheeler, and was coached by Margret Wood.

The third-place team from Irving Middle School was comprised of Nick Adler, Johnathon Bowers, Chris Briscoe, Alana Brown, Jordyn DenHartog, Bo Frasure, Kaidance McGonigal, Joey Rensch, Ian Stites, Cody VanHalen, Ellie Wolper and Nathan Wolper. Its coaches were Jan Flandro and Deanna Long.

All teams are encouraged to compete in the state competition in Nampa on April 9, Shropshire said. The Idaho champion team will be invited to compete in the National Science Olympiad at Indiana University in May.

The Science Olympiad is a national non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of science education, increasing student interest in science, and providing recognition for outstanding achievement by both students and teachers.

The Olympiad was made possible by faculty and student volunteers from the ISU Departments of Physics, Geosciences, and Chemistry, and volunteer scientists and engineers from the Idaho National Laboratory.  

More information on the Science Olympiad program is available at  For more information on the Eastern Idaho Science Olympiad, contact Steve Shropshire at, or 282-2212.




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