Sixth-grader Kady Ulrigg carefully aims a rocket she designed before announcing she is ready for an airman to launch it toward the target during the Science Olympics Tuesday at Liberty Hill Middle School.
Sixth-grader Michael Victorian rejoices after his rocket hits the target in a team competition during Liberty Hill Middle School’s Science Olympics Tuesday at the school.

Liberty Hill Middle School holds rocketry competition

By Todd Martin

Special to the Daily Herald

During the eighth annual Science Olympics at Liberty Hill Middle School, science athletes designed and aimed rockets to be fired at a target hanging in the gym rafters.

Seventh-grader Cristella Mendez scored the most points in the rocketry competition, hitting the target in preliminary rounds and defeating the sixth- and eighth-grade finalists.

Five teams from each of the sixth, seventh and eighth grades make up the annual Olympic competitors, each attempting to score the most points in five science game stations and the final team rocket competition.

To compete in games, which were held the day before Thanksgiving break, students had to qualify through a science test and lab experiment.

Roger Allen, the eighth-grade science teacher who spearheads the event every year, said he loves to watch students have fun

with science.

“I never get tired of the sparkle in their eye,” he said. “The smiles, the sense of accomplishment; they really want to do their best, and they have fun doing it.”

Mendez, the rocket champion, participated in the school’s Science Olympics for the first time. “It’s about what we know and how we apply the information,” she said. “It’s fun because we get to work together as a team.”

The 15 teams worked together in the five stations, answering questions in a Jeopardy-style game, identifying images of science-related items and participating in a Win, Lose or Draw competition.

In one of the preliminary games, students cycled through 25 stations, completing timed tasks such as reading a thermometer, solving a word problem using graphs and determining the volume of a rubber stopper in water.

In the Jeopardy game, students answered questions about elements, the human body, energy and ecosystems.

In Win, Lose or Draw, they had to draw pictures like igneous rock, global warming and runoff water as their teammates guessed the term they were drawing.

“It’s fun. We got to be with friends,” said eighth-grader Skylar Conlon, whose rocket design won in his grade level.

He said he worked hard to make balancers out of note cards to make his rocket fly accurately and hit the target hanging from the gym’s ceiling.

“I liked that we reviewed all the science we’ve learned,” said sixth-grader Michael Victorian. “We will be prepared for our test.”

His rocket was a paper-covered cylinder with index cards and duct tape.

Personnel from the U.S. Air Force 9th Air Support Operations Squadron, Liberty Hill’s Adopt-A-School unit, assisted with the event by firing the student-made rockets.