Science Olympiad

January 28, 2011 10:16:31 AM PST
This week, results from a national exam revealed that fewer than one third of elementary and high school students have a solid grasp of science.

The scores from the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress, released Tuesday, come just a few weeks after an international science test showed U.S. students trailing their counterparts in many European and Asian countries.

To counter that trend, Chicago Public Schools is hosting it's 3rd annual "Build It-Learn It Day" as part of the Science Olympiad Urban Schools Initiative. The event is taking place today (Friday 28th) at the UIC Student Center West. It includes nearly 250 teachers and students from across the city. Build It-Learn It Day is a hand-on event to give students opportunities to directly interact with experts, scientists and engineers who will give them valuable feedback and advice as they prepare to represent their school at the upcoming CPS Science Olympiad Regional Tournament at Wright City College on Saturday, March 19th.

Two students visited ABC7 Friday morning to demonstrate two building events:

Battery Buggy

Battery Buggy is an event that requires participants to design and build a moving, battery-powered electric vehicle capable of traveling a certain distance and stopping as close to that distance as possible.


Towers is an event where students are given certain parameters of length, width, height, and material, each team is to design, build and test the lightest tower to carry a maximum standard load. Typically the structure is made from balsa wood

More information about Mr. Johnson

He has been teaching for 15 years, the last three at Edward Coles Elementary Language Academy. He has taught all general subjects but now teaches only science, which he describes as his favorite subject, his passion.

This is his second year participating in Science Olympiad. He favors the program for a variety of reasons:

  • It lends an opportunity for students in an urban district to interact with experts in their fields.
  • It exposes the students to new and different experiences.
  • It can serve as a spark of inquiry and inspiration for students.
  • It can open their eyes to potential career paths they might not have considered.


    Build It-Learn It Day is a part of the Science Olympiad Urban Schools Initiative, a coalition of partners dedicated to the goal of providing out-of-school time science opportunities to more underserved students. The coalition includes Science Olympiad, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Chicago Public Schools, Wilbur Wright College, the College Board's Young Epidemiology Scholars program, the Centers for Disease Control, Texas Instruments, Illinois Science Olympiad, and the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce Foundation's Innovate Now program.

    For more information see:

    Founded in 1984, Science Olympiad is a national non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of K-12 science education, increasing male, female and minority interest in science, creating a technologically literate workforce and providing recognition for outstanding achievement by both students and teachers. It is the only science competition that touches every letter in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).