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Getting it down to a science

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Adam Mann and Daniel Roper, both 12-year-old homeschool students, won the state Science Olympiad championship.The two created a complicated machine with 16 different mechanisms, including different kinds of pulleys, wedges and levers. The end result – a roll of toilet paper unfurls at the feet of the judges.But the end result isn’t the focus of the project, titled Mission Possible.

Mann and Roper, both from Rifle, attend a special science class for homeschool students called Grand Valley Science Club.Mission Possible is just one of several challenges they could have chosen to tackle for Science Olympiad.”It’s really fun to work on it,” Mann said. “You can just start drilling and building.”

Mann, whose father is a cabinet builder, said he would like to be an engineer when he grows up. He enjoyed building the mechanics of the projects and knows what it takes to make different kinds of pulleys, levers and wedges work.Roper said their machine worked almost flawlessly at the regional and state competitions. But something else put them over the threshold for the win.”We had a cool design,” Roper said. “Our box – we didn’t put anything on it or paint it. It was wood with sort of rounded sides and an open top and side so the judges could see how everything worked.”

The two worked together at Mann’s house for hours and hours to perfect he machine.”It’s cool because when you’re working for a medal, it’s different,” Mann said. “You’re not just working because your mom told you to.”