MSE a part of local - and nation’s largest - elementary Science Olympiad

MSE a part of local - and nation’s largest - elementary Science Olympiad

Professor Katsuyo Thornton at the WESO Science Olympiad

This past spring, MSE Professors Katsuyo Thornton and Max Shtein captivated elementary students with the physics of light during four hands-on workshops held in conjunction with the 2017 Washtenaw Elementary Science Olympiad (WESO). The sessions, which took place in March, were held at Scarlet Middle School to train students and their coaches from across the Washtenaw County who were preparing for the category “Photon Phun.”

Aimed at raising interest in science in Washtenaw County, WESO is the largest Science Olympiad at the elementary level in the U.S. (and in all likelihood the world), attracting more than 2,500 2nd-5th graders this year from more than 40 elementary schools.

At the final WESO competition, held June 4 at Pioneer High School, Professors Thornton and Liang Qi hosted a materials science booth to share some of the activities from the workshops as well as additional materials relevant to crystal structures and phase transformations. Later in the afternoon, Thornton and Shtein helped hand out medals at the fourth-grade awards ceremony.

Click here to see photos.

“We’re really fortunate to live in a community where so many people support and participate in Science Olympiad,” said Thornton, who added that she first got involved with WESO four years ago when her daughter was a Science Olympiad participant at her elementary school. “It can’t be overstated how important it is to engage students in science at an early age to increase the pool of future scientists and engineers.”