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Blanchet Science Olympiad Team Does Well

April 21, 2021
By Toni Nanneman
Congratulations to Blanchet's Science Olympiad team who competed on Saturday, April 17, 2021.  We were up against 15 other Oregon schools; twelve of whom are 5A and larger. 
Blanchet's team finished a respectable eighth of the fifteen teams.  Our team had top ten places in twelve of the twenty-one events.   A silver medal was earned by Denavae Randall and Sophie Schindler for their second place in Disease Detectives.  Denavae and Sophie also finished 5th in the AgriBio event. 

The other top ten competitors are:

  • Jackson Mucken and Max Quintero 6th in Ornithology;
  • Logan Day and Tanveer Singh 6th in Digital Structures;
  • Ben Alley, Rieve Randall and Tanveer Singh 7th in Experimental Design;
  • Holden Prine and Max Quintero 7th in Circuit Lab;
  • Logan Day and Aliya Suri 8th in Forensics;
  • Emma Lutz and Sam Richards 8th in Fossils;
  • Logan Day and Aliya Suri 8th in Chem Lab;
  • Diego Diaz-Diaz and Hannah Estrabo 8th in Sounds of Music;
  • Diego Diaz-Diaz and Hannah Estrabo 8th in Designer Genes;
  • Holden Prine, Max Quintero, and Rieve Randall 10th in CodeBusters. 
This was a great showing for a team made up of mostly first time competitors with everyone placing at least tenth or better in one or more events.  The team was coached by Mr. David Shultz.  We'd also like to thank Mrs. Churchill for helping with this year’s team and supervising on Saturday.
Science Olympiad functions much like an athletic team, requiring preparation, commitment, coaching and practice throughout the year. Each school-based team is allowed to bring 15 students who cross-train for a variety of events in their skill set allowing for an apprentice and mentoring system.
Science Olympiad competitions are like academic track meets, consisting of a series of team events in each division (Division B is middle school; Division C is high school). Each year, a portion of the events are rotated to reflect the ever-changing nature of genetics, earth science, chemistry, anatomy, physics, geology, mechanical engineering and technology. By combining events from all disciplines, Science Olympiad encourages a wide cross-section of students to get involved. Emphasis is placed on active, hands-on group participation. Through Science Olympiad, students, teachers, parents, principals and business leaders bond together and work toward a shared goal.
For more information about Blanchet's Science Olympiad teams, please look up Science Olympiad on our Club Web page by clicking here!

Take-Home Science Kits

October 28, 2020
By Tori Hittner

Diack Ecology Grant Allows for Exploration at Home

Blanchet science teacher Dr. Micki Halsey Randall knew that she needed to find a creative solution for keeping students engaged in the midst of digital learning. With all the screen time required in a distance learning environment, she wanted to give her students a breath of fresh air--literally!

“When we decided to go back digitally, I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, how do I get kids engaged outside, because I don’t want them staring at a screen the whole time?’” Dr. HR explained. “Even the idea of them coming back but being socially distanced--how do we do microscope work if they can’t share a microscope?”

The solution? Take-home science kits with portable equipment to help students conduct observations in their own backyards. Dr. HR turned to Mike Weddle at Diack Ecology for help funding the large undertaking. The Diack Ecology Education Program provides grants and resources for teachers and students in Oregon to encourage field-based science and ecology studies. Through her work with the Outdoor Learning Environment, Dr. HR had already received several grants from the nonprofit. 

“This is a company that loves to get kids outside,” she said. “With my Outdoor Learning Environment, it was this natural marriage between what I needed and who they wanted to give money to.”

The take-home kits were delivered to all of Dr. HR’s eighth graders in Integrated Science 8 and freshmen/sophomores in Biology--about 100 students in total. Mid high students received handheld lenses to identify specimens of rocks, soils, insects, and plants. As a class, they will be creating a map of their locations and comparing/contrasting the items discovered in their backyards. 

High school Biology students received handheld microscopes instead of lenses, which they are using to explore habitat characteristics, looking closely at insects and plants. The information they gather will be used to design a plan for improving the habitat of the OLE once on-campus learning resumes. All kits included a journal, colored pencils, whiteboard, and markers. 

“I’m a big fan of whiteboards,” Dr. HR said. “There’s new research that says kids are more likely to engage on a whiteboard than they are on pencil/paper because it’s so easy to erase if they make a mistake. There’s no permanent record, so they’re more willing to take those risks to try to answer things and brainstorm.”

We’re proud to have a dedicated, creative teacher like Dr. HR as part of our Blanchet family, and look forward to seeing all the wonderful observations and discoveries that stem from our students’ outdoor learning experiences!