3M Will Help Bring National Science Olympiad to Madison

3MThe University of Wisconsin-Madison will host the next National Science Olympiad on May 18-21, 2011, when an estimated 7,000-plus middle school and high school students, parents, educators and volunteers arrive on campus.

A $25,000 sponsorship grant from the 3M Foundation will help meet the costs of the 2011 Olympiad, including the opening and closing ceremonies at the Kohl Center, materials and programs, and food and transportation costs for visiting teams and hosting parents.

For the past 26 years, the National Science Olympiad has been promoting science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education in the U.S. throughout middle school and high school.  It has become one of the premier science competitions in the nation by providing rigorous, standards-based challenges that require hands-on engagement, creative problem-solving and teamwork – inspiring young people to succeed in these important areas.  The 2011 competition will feature the 100 winning teams from competitions in 50 participating states – one winning middle school and one winning high school from each state.

Team members spend a full academic year applying their core curriculum to prepare for state competitions.  Students select from more than two dozen science-based competitions, ranging from chemistry, geology and engineering design to human health, cell biology and ecology, and spend an entire day of the competition working with teammates to achieve the best solution to their chosen challenge.  The competitive nature of the event puts science on a par with athletics as a fun, exciting and rewarding experience.  The ultimate goals are to instill a passion in young people for science and to improve the quality of pre-college science and engineering education nationwide by changing perceptions and teaching practices.

Hosting the 2011 National Science Olympiad will present the UW-Madison as a national leader in strengthening learning in the STEM fields, a top U.S. educational priority.  Science Olympiad is the only science competition recognized by the National Research Council as a tool to help teachers promote national science standards.  There are 106 Science Olympiad teams in communities throughout Wisconsin.