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Students from Orchard Middle School in Solon visited the chemistry lab at Kent State University Geauga's Regional Academic Center in Twinsburg on February 10. At the invitation of Dr. Zhiqiang (Molly) Wang, five students from Mrs. Susan Benedict's and Mr. Robert Luce's 5th and 6th grade classes trained for the Potions and Poisons event of the Science Olympiad.
The Science Olympiad is a 30 year old competition held regionally. The winners go on to a national competition. It's considered the Olympics of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Students participate in competitions that are similar to academic track meets. These competitions consist of a series of 23 team events.
To prepare for this event, the students practiced every week from January to March -sometimes for two hours on various experiments. Students learned basic aspects about chemical changes, bonding, balancing chemical equations, conductivity, simple household chemicals and identifying various poisonous plants and animals and their toxic effects. They also learned about paper chromatography, separation of mixtures and serial dilution.
This science event provided a great opportunity for younger students. It connected them to their science senses at an early age and motivated their interests in science. The student gained valuable experience in performing simple experiments in the lab. They also gained the experience in a research university environment. Students and parents highly praised the learning experience they received from these practice sessions.
The competition of “The Northeast Ohio Elementary Science Olympiad” was held on March 3, 2018 at Case Western Reserve University. The two teams Dr. Wang coached received first and fourth place for the “Potions and Poisons” event.
Dr. Wang is an Associate Professor of Chemistry at Kent State University's Geauga Campus and Regional Academic Center. She has numerous publications and achievements including being awarded a Kent State Distinguished Teaching Award in 2017 and the William E. Lower Award from the Cleveland Clinic.