For the third year in a row, the La Cueva High School Science Olympiad team took first place in its division at the Feb. 25-26 New Mexico Science Olympiad tournament at New Mexico Tech in Socorro. Twenty-one teams competed in more than 20 different events in Division C, including experimental design, astronomy, cell biology, remote sensing, and home horticulture.
According to the New Mexico Science Olympiad website, the La Cueva High School team took first place in eight different events, including Detector Building, Disease Detectives, Dynamic Planet, Environmental Chemistry, Experimental Design, Green Generation, and It Is About Time.
For the It Is About Time event La Cueva students Grant Staten and Rahul Chalamala had to answer questions related to time and construct a non-electrical device to measure time intervals between 10 and 300 seconds. Some of the practice questions students can use comes from the University of Texas 2021 Invitational It’s About Time exam. Some of the practice questions ask what a sidereal is, what time it is in New York if it is noon in London, and why quartz crystals are used in watches.
LCHS Science Olympiad President Prashamsa Koirala explained in an email that the Olympiad, “. . . is most similar to track and field, where participants compete in multiple events designated to a specific area/topic. For example, one event that I competed in for the past four years was Dynamic Planet which pertained to geological processes that contribute to the formation of the earth’s landscape.”
In another event called Ping Pong Parachute, “Students have to build a parachute that has the longest float time in the air whilst it holds a ping pong ball,” Koirala wrote. The La Cueva team took fourth place in that event.
“Overall, our team has been strong the last few years,” Koirala said. “We have seen great enthusiasm from students entering in the Science Olympiad and many talented prospects for future years to come. We all really enjoy science and engineering, which is the main point of Science Olympiad.”
Tammy Lara, La Cueva High School science teacher and contact person for the Science Olympiad club, said in an email that she does not know if La Cueva will participate in the national Science Olympiad tournament at Caltech this summer. “If it is face-to-face, then most likely we will not attend,” Lara wrote. “Last year (2020-2021) the kids qualified for national for the first time, but only because it was entirely virtual. Otherwise, it would be difficult for us to travel.”
For more information on the 2022 New Mexico State Science Olympiad, visit scilympiad.com/nm.