Local science teams go one, two

Published 5:15 am Wednesday, February 11, 2009

By By Lisa Tindell
news editor

Science has recently joined technology in being acknowledged as having strategic importance in national competitiveness and economic security. Science teachers at Brewton Middle School and W.S. Neal Middle School are working on that theory through the school’s Science Olympiad programs.
Teams from both schools participated in the regional competition held last Saturday in Mobile. The students were among 225 children from six schools hoping for a chance at state competition.
Brewton Middle School’s team finished in the top spot while W.S. Neal Middle School’s Team One took the second place honors at the competition. Both teams will advance to state competition set for March 14 at Huntingdon College in Montgomery.
Cindy Brittain and Vanessa Shelburne served as coaches for the Brewton Middle School Science Olympiad teams. Shelburne said the group of 29 students are among the most active students at the school.
Dedication by students is amazing and helped them achieve success in the regional event, Brittain said.
Community support is valuable as teams prepare for competition, whether on the local, regional, state or national level, Shelburne said.
The Science Olympiad program is one that is gaining interest throughout the state, but the interest at the middle school level is becoming important to students, Lambert said.
Lambert said the Science Olympia program looks at methods of teaching not normally used in many subjects.
W.S. Neal Middle School’s total medal count was 29 for all four teams combined. W.S. Neal’s teams swept the model airplane and bridge competition by taking top honors in those areas.
Science Olympiad is a national non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of science education as well as increasing interest to students.
At the national organization's website, www.soinc.org, the group's mission statement is to improve the quality of K-12 science education throughout the nation by changing the way science is perceived and the way it is taught (with an emphasis on problem solving and hands-on, minds-on constructivist learning practices).
This goal is accomplished through in-depth core curriculum training workshops and the distribution of curriculum materials; to celebrate and recognize the outstanding achievement of both students and teachers in the areas of science and technology by awarding thousand of certificates, medals, trophies and scholarships; and to promote partnerships among community, businesses, industry, government and education.

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