By: Michelle Xu

On one side of the gym, wooden airplanes whirled into the air. On the other side, bottle balloon vehicles wheeled down the track. These creations were constructed by none other than students in grades 6-8, who gathered together on April 8th at Sage Hill School to compete in OC Science's 4th annual Junior Engineering Olympiad.

The Junior Engineering Olympiad consisted of 6 events: Bottle Balloon Vehicle, Flying It Wright, Marshmallow Towers, Mystery Architecture, Shockingly Fast, and Water Filtration. Students could choose two events to compete in. In every event, students competed either in teams of two or three. Medals were given out to the top three teams for each event.

"I felt like my event was really fun and interesting for the students," Bottle Balloon Vehicle event captain and Beckman High School freshman Emma Jung said. "At first, the kids seemed to have the same idea to build their vehicles, but after they started building, everyone ended up with very different and creative designs."

Creativity and unconventional ideas were definitely a common theme that prevailed throughout the entire event.

"I think the most interesting part of my event was the way different students used different strategies," said Marshmallow Towers event captain and Northwood High School junior Vinayaka Srinivas. "They incorporated some ideas I never even thought of myself!"

At the end of the day, whether students walked home with a medal around their neck or not, there is no doubt that everyone gained a new appreciation for science and engineering.

For more information about OC Science, please visit www.ocscience.org.

For more information about the Junior Engineering Olympiad and other events during the annual Orange County Science and Engineering Week, please visit ocseweek.wordpress.com.