Teams left to their own devices at physics fair

NEIGHBORS

March 05, 2002|By Debra Taylor Young | Debra Taylor Young,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

A RECORD 24 high schools competed in the annual Central Maryland Physics Olympics at Liberty High School on Saturday.

This year's theme was "The Lord of the Marbles" and involved six events in which students had to solve physics problems by constructing devices (each worth a possible 250 points).

Three of the six events were known to students in advance, giving them time to prepare. Students had 30 minutes to solve each problem and devise a device.

The events were:

Mount Doom: Build a device from ditto paper and masking tape to catch an egg dropped from four meters.

The Boats of Loathlorian: Balance as many marbles as possible on a sheet of aluminum foil floating on water.

The Council of Elrond: Build a device from drinking straws to lift an egg over a barrier and move it the greatest distance.

The Bridge of Khazad-dum: Build a boardwalk with a span of 20 centimeters and support a maximum number of marbles.

The Winged Nazgul: Build a device to transport at least three marbles along a line of fishing wire for a distance of at least one meter.

The Fellowship of the Marbles: Set boards on cinderblocks to balance team members with one member walking the plank to the end. The plank cannot touch the floor.

Polytechnic Institute's Team One took first place, scoring 1,290 points of a possible 1,500. The Baltimore school was presented with a $1,000 check for use by its physics department. Team members received plaques.

Montgomery County's Georgetown Preparatory School's Team Two placed second and Calvert County's Northern High School Team One finished third.

Participating from Carroll schools were teams from North Carroll, South Carroll, Liberty and Francis Scott Key high schools. None placed in the Top 10. Liberty Team Two placed 13th.

Tim Durkin, a Liberty High School physics teacher, started the event 10 years ago. He and a panel of judges drew up the events. Judges from Carroll included: Bob Dean of North Carroll High School; Gary Foote of South Carroll High School; and Jason Fritch of Liberty High.

Parent workshops

Oklahoma Road Middle School will hold a parent workshop at 6:45 p.m. Monday.

Topics will include: "Taking Charge of Your TV," "Living with a Middle School Student and Loving It," "Stress Management" and "Internet Safety."

Participants can choose two topics to attend, with sessions running from 7 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. Registration is at the door. Admission is free.

Information: 410-795-6581.

Nature Sketching Group

Piney Run Park Nature Center is featuring a Nature Sketching Group at 2 p.m. Thursdays in March, April and May at the center off Martz Road.

The workshop for adults will teach sketching and feature a different subject each week, beginning with birds. Participants are asked to take a drawing pad and pencil or pen for informal sketching.

Information: 410-795-6043.

Debra Taylor Young's Southeast neighborhood column appears each Tuesday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

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