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Posted on Fri, Apr 26, 2013 : 8:30 a.m.

Ann Arbor schools students to compete in Michigan Science Olympiad Tournament

By Danielle Arndt

Two teams of students from the Ann Arbor Public Schools were selected to compete in the state Science Olympiad tournament Saturday in East Lansing.


Students launched rockets during the 2011 Washtenaw Elementary Science Olympiad competition at Pioneer. Science Olympiad teams from Huron High School and Slauson Middle School will compete in the 2013 state tournament Saturday at Michigan State University.

Angela J. Cesere | file photo

The teams, one from Huron High School and one from Slauson Middle School, earned the opportunity through their performances in regional competitions in February and March.

More than 400 teams competed in regionals throughout the state and 96 teams were chosen to participate in Saturday's tournament at Michigan State University, during which the students will use teamwork and problem solving skills to take on 46 events in a range of scientific topics, including experimental design thermodynamics, remote sensing, chemistry, astronomy, technical problem solving and forensics.

There will be a new engineering event for both middle school and high school teams at Saturday's tournament. Middle-schoolers will be required to construct an unpowered, autorotation helicopter device using one or more helicopter rotors to safely transport a raw chicken egg from a specified drop height to the floor. The high school competitors will construct a self-propelled magnetically-levitated vehicle with battery-powered rotors that is capable of moving the vehicle down a magnetic track.

Science Olympiad is popular in the Ann Arbor Public Schools. The Washtenaw Elementary Science Olympiad is the largest elementary Science Olympiad organization in the country.

The 11th annual WESO tournament took place on April 20 at Pioneer High School and for the first time since launching the organization, all 20 of AAPS' elementary schools had teams participate. Mitchell Elementary was the last school to join in.

Danielle Arndt covers K-12 education for Follow her on Twitter @DanielleArndt or email her at



Sun, Apr 28, 2013 : 10:18 a.m.

Huron team won many events at the State tournament. Please report and acknowledge their achievements!


Sun, Apr 28, 2013 : 2:42 a.m.

I enjoyed my times in Science Olympiad. I'm who am I am today in great part to that program and the wonderful mentor (thank you Mr. P. Marchuk) that I had.


Sun, Apr 28, 2013 : 2:43 a.m.

Wow - something went wrong with the previous post - not sure how that many 'am's got into the post.

Neal Foster

Sat, Apr 27, 2013 : 11:42 a.m.

A wonderful program for getting kids interested in science.


Sat, Apr 27, 2013 : 1:33 a.m.

What is the point of naming the last elementary in AAPS to join?

Danielle Arndt

Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 5:49 a.m.

DJBud, it was discussed in brief at the AAPS Board of Education meeting Wednesday. The last school was noted because school officials made a point of discussing how it has been a goal for many years to get all of the district's elementary schools participating in WESO/Science Olympiad.


Mon, Apr 29, 2013 : 1:08 p.m.

They are naming it because Dr. Green made a big deal out of it in her closing speech at the event. It is being held out as evidence that the achievement gap is being closed. How they knew this as they did not attend is beyond me, maybe there was a press release or notice sent to


Fri, Apr 26, 2013 : 6:33 p.m.

Congrats to the kids and coaches! should definitely cover it with a photo story every year -- where else do you get 800-1000 local kids together to battle with their minds?


Fri, Apr 26, 2013 : 5:27 p.m.

I was disappointed earlier in the week that there were no articles or pictures about the WESO. The kids (and volunteers) worked so hard, and were so excited and proud of their work. If ours is the largest elementary Science Olympiad organization in the county, it should merit at least minimal coverage if not more. Plus, as was mentioned by others it does shed a very positive light on our county's schools.

Danielle Arndt

Fri, Apr 26, 2013 : 5:33 p.m.

We have covered the WESO competition in the past, as evidenced by the photo above. Unfortunately this year, we were not able to make it out. But I heard it was an excellent event and we love hearing about these opportunities in the community. If anyone knows of or has events coming up in the schools or in the community in general, please email us. A couple weeks in advance is always preferable so we can get these things on our calendars. Thanks!


Fri, Apr 26, 2013 : 3:12 p.m.

There were 26 total schools participating, but 20 of them were local PUBLIC schools, while the rest were charter, home schooling and private schools. It is sad that this small article is all that is mentioned about this fantastic event. I would much rather read about the communities outstanding support for students and science over any article about ted nuggent talking about anything. How about covering something of REAL value for a change mlive. It is a real loss of credibility for the website when you ignore the good things going on in the community you are supposed to represent. Get with it. (when 2300 students in the community come out for any event there should be coverage of it and more than cursory stuff please)


Sat, Apr 27, 2013 : 1:20 p.m.

It appears julie and danielle (mlive people) think that writing about boy scouts replaces the fact that they dropped the ball on writing an important article in support of the community and its kids. Then they pass the buck by saying well we covered it last year but couldnt make it this year. What were you doing, covering ted neggent and his very important feelings on pure michigan? Glad you could make that WAY more important event. Dont ask your readers to do YOUR job for you, this is why newspapers have failed and journalism is in retreat. I bet if you had a dedicated article to this event you would have had nearly as many web hits (all newspapers care about nowadays) as teddy got because when 2000+ smart kids atend an acedemic event you can bet their parents know how to read and would likely give you your needed clicks. Just a thought from someone who didnt click on teddys article but did take time to read this one.


Fri, Apr 26, 2013 : 5:23 p.m.

I agree Bubbap, it would have been nice to see this covered, along with some pictures, earlier this week.

Julie Baker

Fri, Apr 26, 2013 : 5:05 p.m.

Hi Bubbap, Here are a few recent articles on student achievement that you might be interested in. -Boy Scout refurbishing bicycles to distribute to needy kids -Checkmate: Huron High School junior crowned national K-12 chess champion -4 Ann Arbor high-schoolers named semifinalists in U.S. Presidential Scholars competition If you have any further story ideas, feel free to email us at or contact Danielle directly.


Fri, Apr 26, 2013 : 2:56 p.m.

I'm pretty sure there were 26 elementary schools total. Perhaps only 20 of them are AAPS?

Christine Stead

Fri, Apr 26, 2013 : 2:39 p.m.

Congratulations to our future scientists! We have a strong foundation of science in our community. I'm really proud of these teas - and all of the teams we have that foster a curiosity and interest in science. I was glad to see WESO acknowledged in the article as well. Hopefully that will get more coverage next year, with over 2,300 student participants and 600 adult volunteers - this is a great example of how much Ann Arbor values science, and education in general. Best of luck to our Slauson and Huron teams this weekend!