Tom Hutton, University Relations, 262-3439

COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO — More than 700 southern Colorado high school and junior high school scientists will match wits Saturday at a regional Science Olympiad competition at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs.

Junior and senior high school students will compete Olympic-style to determine who can best apply basic scientific principles on the way to earning gold, silver or bronze medals.

More than 13,500 schools nationwide participate in Science Olympiad. On Saturday, CU-Colorado Springs will host 26 junior high and 26 senior high teams from throughout southern Colorado. Winners at the regional level will continue to compete at a state competition in Denver. State winners will compete nationally in Spokane, Wash.

During the Science Olympiad the students will compete in a variety of events designed to test their wits and creativity as well as to fuel their competitive spirit. Beginning at 9 a.m., the students will break into groups at locations throughout the campus to test their knowledge in three areas: science concepts and knowledge, science processes and thinking skills and science application and technology.

At 3 p.m. in the University Center Gym, Tom Christensen, dean, College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences, will speak on the importance of science and engineering education. Jeff Kumpf of Lockheed-Martin Corp. will demonstrate model airplanes. U.S. Air Force Lt. Colonel Ron Furstenau will present a chemistry magic show. An awards ceremony will follow Furstenau.

Some events will resemble classroom exams as students use pencil and paper to answer questions. Most events will be hands-on visual demonstrations of scientific principles.

Examples of the competitions are:

Bridge Building — Using the same guidelines for length, width, height and materials used, the students will design, build and test a bridge. The winners are chosen based on the lightest structure that can carry the most weight.

Cow-A-Bungee — The students will drop a mass connected to a bungee cord from an elevation. The team who’s mass comes closest to the floor without touching wins.

The Wright Stuff — Students will design and build a propeller-driven aerodynamic device. Winners will be chosen on the longest flight time.

Bottle Rocket — Students will design and construct rockets made from two-liter soda bottles. The team with the highest elevation rocket wins.

Mission Possible — Students will design and build a Rube Goldberg-like device that demonstrates a series of energy transfers to accomplish a specific task. Rube Goldberg-devices are generally defined as extraordinarily complex devices used to accomplish simple tasks.

CU-Colorado Springs, located on Austin Bluffs Parkway in northeast Colorado Springs, is the fastest growing university in Colorado and one of the fastest growing universities in the nation. The university offers 25 bachelor’s degrees, 17 master’s and two doctoral degrees. The campus enrolls about 7,000 students annually.