Eden Prairie High School’s Science Olympiad team placed third in March at the State Tournament. The EPHS team won regionals but was unable to defend its state victory from last year. Wayzata ended up taking first place, followed closely by Mounds View.
Science Olympiad is a rigorous competition that pits students against a variety of scientific challenges. There are 23 different events covering a broad range of scientific disciplines. These include standard subjects such as Anatomy and Physiology, Astronomy, and Chemistry Lab, to more adventurous events such as Codebusters, Ping Pong Parachute, and Forensics.
Eden Prairie currently has a club of 60 students, split into one varsity and three junior varsity teams. Each student gets to focus on 2-3 subject areas. They then work with a team of 1-2 other students to compete in their event. Some events are strictly based on a test, but many have a lab component. For instance, some engineering events have students building vehicles or bridges that must hold a certain weight.
Competing at a high level requires rigorous study.
According to senior and team captain Iesh Gujral, many students spend three to four hours each week researching their subjects. The engineering events are especially demanding. Students are tested at what is essentially a college level. While challenging, this leaves students well prepared to further their education. Gujral says that participating “definitely helped me prepare for college, especially learning the skill of self-studying.”
Katie Foley, a biology teacher at EPHS and co-advisor of the team, says that students learn the essential life skills of “collaboration, cooperation, critical thinking, and creativity.” Additionally, she says, “being together with like-minded individuals builds community, and many friendships have been formed in the program.”
Any students interesting in science, math, or engineering are encouraged to join the program. Each year the club tries to form as many teams as possible.