Science Olympiad Offers “Explosive” Summer with Rockets, Crossbows, and Towers

Summer enrichment class teaches engineering skills with hands-on activities.

Mr.Walls' students celebrate engineering successes

Mr.Walls’ students celebrate engineering successes

“During the time at summer enrichment, some of the things that my students will be making are rockets that fly, pop guns, trebuchets, and electronic cards that light up,” stated Greg Walls, who teaches AP environmental science at Yorba Linda High School and Science Olympiad and is teaching a Science Olympiad class for the PYLUSD Summer Enrichment program at Fairmont Elementary School during the months of June and July.

Science Olympiad is a national competition for middle school and high school, in which students are judged on the inventiveness of such creations as rockets, robots, and bridges made out of popsicles sticks.

The first annual Science Olympiad National Tournament was hosted by Michigan State University in May, 1985, with 17 states participating. Currently, there are nearly 7,500 secondary schools from 50 states participating, with an additional 10,000 or more elementary schools holding Science Olympiad tournaments or hands-on events, according to soinc.org.

Mr. Walls has coached a Science Olympiad Team at Yorba Linda High School ( YLHS) three times and has lead his team to success. “Once they came in third for the robotics challenge, sixth for the robotics arm challenge and eighth for the air trajectory challenge.” They have never came in first, but each time there were about 30 teams so their team did not do too badly.  Perhaps they will come in first this year.

Mr.Walls explained that his motivation for becoming a Science Olympiad teacher is because he likes to “read mystery novels to find out who committed the crime and how they did it.” He also thinks that   “science is a lot like a mystery novel, and I like to teach science to discover things and help others stoke their curiosity”.

Mr. Walls also likes engineering and working with students. Mr.Walls furthermore explained that his goal for the students in this class is for them “to be able to explain different types of engineering and for them to make their projects successful.”

Mr. Walls additionally said that some of the challenges of making Science Olympiad a summer class is “trying to find entertaining projects that the students will like but not making the supplies too expensive and the project to dangerous.”

Also two of the assistants in Mr.Wall’s classroom, Soma and Nigam, stated that, “Science Olympiad is very fun and entertaining “and they also believe that “Mr. Walls is very fun, easy going, caring, and good with children.”