Trinity science students win big at state … again

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 1, 2008

NATCHEZ — The scrambler is an odd vehicle, and while it won’t likely change the future of transportation, it was able to help carry science buffs from Trinity Episcopal Day School to the Science Olympiad National Tournament in Washington, D.C.

Students on the school’s Olympiad team will be traveling to Washington in May to participate in something like an overgrown science fair.

They earned their spot by finishing first — for the third year in a row — at the Mississippi Science Olympiad at the University of Southern Mississippi.

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The national tournament will test students in nearly two-dozen competitions that cover virtually every imaginable area of scientific study.

Trinity’s science teacher and team coach Stephanie Daly said the competition will challenge each of the 18 students participating in the event.

“It’s going to be hard,” she said. “But they’re up to it.”

As evidence that the students are indeed ready for the challenge of the Olympiad, look no further than the scrambler.

The scrambler is the size and shape of an elongated shoebox and is propelled by a system of weights and pulleys.

It has an egg for a hood ornament.

The student-built car has a breaking system that uses as a threaded wheel and nut.

And while the whole thing sounds a bit convoluted, it actually forces the students to devise and equation that allows them set the nut in relation to the threaded wheel that ultimately stops the car.

During the contest the students are given a point where the nut and threaded wheel must stop the car.

If not, the egg will be broken as the car exceeds its stopping distance.

During a practice run on Monday, Daly said the cart stopped within one centimeter of its mark.

But students will have to do more than just save an egg to win the tournament.

Daly said many of the competitors already know what areas they will be competing in and have been busy practicing.

Eighth-grader Danielle Trottier will be competing in contests dealing with anatomy.

Trottier said she practices or studies for the competition nearly six days a week.

Sammy Qa’dan, also an eighth-grader, will be participating in trajectory portion of the competition.

Qa’dan built a trebuchet for the state competition.

While Daly said she has every confidence her students will perform well in competition the only minor problems comes in actually getting there.

The cost for the group’s travel is approximately $20,000.

Daly said some fundraising efforts will be used to raise money for the trip.

But right now Daly is focused on the students more than the money.

“We’re going to get there,” she said. “When we do we’re going to do great.”