Young science scholars will be competing here the next two Saturdays

Young science scholars will be competing here the next two Saturdays

Balloons will soar, planes will swoop, robots will ramble, castles will crash, energy-transfer machines will whiz, and nearly 1,000 brains will be hard at work on two Saturdays in March at Minnesota Science Olympiads for middle school and high school students.

The Middle School Science Olympiad will be held Saturday, March 4, and the High School Science Olympiad will be held Saturday, March 11.

The University of St. Thomas again is hosting the 22nd annual competitions, which provide some of the state’s best young intellects the chance to have fun while putting scientific principles to work.

Events for both Olympiads will be held in the Frey Science and Engineering Center and McCarthy Gym, both located on the St. Thomas campus that is west of Cretin Avenue and south of Summit Avenue. The events are free and open to the public.

Both olympiads generally run from about 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. A schedule of the times and locations of the events for both weekends is available on the Minnesota Academy of Science Web site,

The individual and team events in the olympiads are balanced between the disciplines of biology, earth science, chemistry, physics, computers, astronomy, engineering and technology, and are designed to encourage a wide cross-section of students to participate.

The 30 middle school and 32 high school teams earned a berth in the state finals by competing in regional events.

Delano is the defending champ at the middle school level. In second place last year was Kenwood Trail of Lakeville, and third was Central Middle School of Eden Prairie.

Middle school teams competing this year are coming from Woodbury, Northfield, Shakopee, Horizon, Capitol Hill, Kasson Mantorville, Delano, Norman County West, Hastings, Minnehaha Academy, Eden Prairie, Ada Borup, Lake, Twin Cities Academy, Century, Ellis, Randolph, Oak Grove, Triton, Kenwood Trail, Byron, Minnetonka, Providence Academy, Willow Creek and Bethlehem Academy.

At the high school level, Mounds View High School is the two-year defending champion. Last year’s second-place team was Rochester Century High School, and third place was Lakeville (now Lakeville North) High School.

All three will be back again, competing against teams from Minnetonka, Faribault, Eagan, Waseca, Eastview, North St. Paul, Mound Westonka, Stillwater, St. Paul Central, Norman County West, Bertha-Hewitt, Orono, Fillmore Central, Kasson-Mantorville, Moorhead, Hutchinson, St. Paul Academy, Byron, Apple Valley, Wayzata, Champlin Park, Delano, Minnehaha Academy, Randolph, Blake, Rochester Mayo, Bemidji and Osakis.

Sponsoring this year’s 22nd Science Olympiad are Flint Hills Resources, the Minnesota Academy of Science, 3M and St. Thomas.