Students show science knowledge |

Students show science knowledge

Amanda Holt MillerWestern Garfield County Staff

A small class made a big impression at a regional science competition.Kim Whelan’s class of 10 home-schooled middle school kids finished eighth at the northern Colorado regional Science Olympiad competition March 5 at Poudre High School in Fort Collins. The group competed against 29 other teams from schools of all sizes.”We were dealing with schools that have 1,500 students, and they can hand-pick their top science students for this,” said Kim Whelan, who teaches the class of home-schooled kids from as far away as Eagle.The class meets at Colorado Mountain College in Rifle every Wednesday. Whelan used to teach science in public schools and has coached Science Olympiad teams for almost two decades.”This is the best finish I’ve ever had,” Whelan said.The kids qualified to go to the state competition April 17 at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden.The kids were able to select from a list of projects. Some projects required kids to build something before the competition, and some required them to study up and be prepared for a test of their knowledge.Maggie Emmer, a seventh-grader from Eagle, competed in four different events. She and a classmate took fifth place in the Sounds of Music competition. They built a dulcimer, a cross between xylophone and piano, out of metal pipe and wood. They also built a quena, similar to a clarinet, with plastic pipe. They played “Sakura, Sakura,” a Japanese duet they selected from a book of duets.”I really love music,” Emmer said. “That one was a lot of fun.”Emmer also built a plane out of balsa wood and tissue paper, making it fly with a rubber-band motor.Christina Metcalf, a sixth-grader from Parachute, also worked on that project.”Remember when it only flew eight seconds?” Metcalf asked Emmer. The girls said other teams had planes that flew for as long as two and a half minutes. “We thought we were going to lose.”Their plane flew for 12 seconds in the competition, good enough for sixth place.Emmer said she also enjoyed the You Can’t Judge a Powder by its Color competition. Competitors were given powders to test. Students had to determine what the powder was based on its acidity and consistency, among other things.”I liked that,” Emmer said. “I really enjoy doing things that require a lot of problem-solving.”

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