Science Olympiad brings young students to Kennesaw State

KENNESAW, Ga. (June 2, 2015) – There were no soccer balls, basketballs or javelins at a…

Georgia (Jun 2, 2015)

KENNESAW, Ga. (June 2, 2015) – There were no soccer balls, basketballs or javelins at a recent campus competition, but make no mistake, the participants in the Science Olympiad had prepared for their events as intensely as any athlete.

“This is the largest event of its kind in the state,” said Neporcha Cone, an associate professor of science education in the Bagwell College of Education at Kennesaw State University. “There were 65 teams representing 65 schools and about 1,300 elementary school students from across Georgia competing this year.”

That number jumps to between 3,000 and 4,000 visitors when parents and coaches are included, Cone said.

The one-day event consisted of 18 different competitions, including Water Rockets, Rock Hounds, Bridge Building, Disease Detectives and Simple Machines. Before making it to the campus of Kennesaw State, the teams must compete in regional competitions.

“The events are around the concept of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education,” Cone said. “One of the goals of the Olympiad is to get students more involve in project-based learning and problem-based learning. That in turn will help to increase their interest in STEM disciplines.”

Citing a “large gap” when it comes to STEM-related careers and students pursuing these disciplines, Cone said the Olympiad also helps to build critical thinking skills.

“The Olympiad gives them real-world applications for what they are learning in these events,” she said. “We want them to pursue STEM-related careers, but even if they choose not to, they’re getting the real-world knowledge they’ll need to become global citizens.”

The event also exposes participants to higher education and Kennesaw State at an early age.

“Another highlight is the collaborative relationships with the competing schools, which is very important to the College of Education and ATOMS center,” she said.

Cone said collaboration was necessary to host the Science Olympiad, with volunteering professors and staff helping conduct competitions across the campus, from the Convocation Center to the Science Building, the Carmichael Student Center and the Campus Green.

“It was a phenomenal event,” she said.

– Jennifer Hafer


A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit