Local students showcase skills

YSU Physics Olympics

YOUNGSTOWN — Local high school juniors and seniors showcased their science skills at the annual Physics Olympics competition Saturday at Youngstown State University.

Teams from 13 area high schools, including Lakeview, Warren G. Harding and Trumbull Career and Technical Center, were among those competing in ping pong ball launch, egg drop, bridge building, flying machine and the new soda arm making.

The Physics Olympics is an all-day gathering of high school students in competition designed to strengthen the mind, demonstrate physics in applied settings and to have fun.

Chase Oliver, 18, of Maplewood, a senior and a student at Trumbull Career and Technical Center, was marking his first time at the event competing in egg drop, floater and flying machine.

He said his science teacher, Alaine Landers, let the students select which competitions they wanted to compete in.

“The egg drop we tried at school and the key is the padding placed inside. The container with a parachute on top of it that we made at school did pretty well and the egg didn’t break,” Oliver said.

Gabrielle Plant, 18, of Maplewood and a senior at TCTC, said they were given class time since late January to prepare.

“The day has been a lot of fun. The soda arm was fun making it so it would hold a weight,” Plant said.

Mary Janik, event coordinator and College Credit-Plus Coordinator at YSU, said the soda straw arm had students make the longest arm possible with 10 straws and 20 pins that would hold a 50-gram mass.

Kevin Crowley, event coordinator who taught physics for over 29 years at YSU, said the egg drop has always been a popular event with students having to develop a container to protect their egg before it is dropped from the stairwell balcony at Stambaugh Stadium.

“The egg has to survive impact and can’t be cracked. Only the surviving eggs count,” Crowley said.

He said years ago when the event first started in late 1970s, more than 25 high schools competed.

“It is harder to get more schools since students are busy in so many other school activities and programs,” Crowley said.

Lakeview High School physics teacher Maureen Bucko said 14 students competed from the district.

“We come here to learn and have fun. The students enjoy the day’s events,” Bucko said.

Warren G. Harding High School physics teacher Amy Burd said three students took part in events.

Ericka Sitch, 17, a senior at Harding, said she competed in the quiz show category where teams from each school answer physics-themed questions. The top three teams competed in the final round.