Greene Co physics team advances to state Physics Olympics

The Greene County Physics Olympics team qualified for the state Physics Olympics by placing second in a regional competition held March 31 at Iowa Lakes Community College’s Sustainable Energy Resources Technology Center on the Estherville campus.

Catapult, (from left), Rachael Danielson and Megan Durbin, with Zoe Joe and Ben Wilkins

The physics competition is open to students in grades 9 through 12, and features five events. In the catapult competition, students need to use a catapult to get a ping pong ball as close as possible to targets set at multiple distances. The mouse trap car involves creating a vehicle powered by a mouse trap and getting it to go a specific distance. In the bridge building competition, students construct bridges out of toothpicks and glue. For the soda straw arm contest, students build crane-like arms from straws and use them to suspend a weight. Finally, there’s the challenge problem, in which students use their physics knowledge to find the answer to a physics problem.

Straw arm competition, Britton Gallagher (left) and Lucas Ausberger, with teacher Launa Buxton

A team from Emmetsburg High School placed first with 46 points. The Greene County team and a second Emmetsburg team both earned 37 points, but because only one team from each school can advance to the state competition, the Greene County team was selected.

Competing will be Megan Durbin and Rachael Danielson with the catapult; Thomas Jacobsen with the mousetrap car; Ben Wilkins and Zoe Joy with bridge building; Lucas Ausberger and Britton Gallagher with the soda straw arm; and Logan Kohl and Reid Stratton in the challenge problem contest.

Ausberger and Gallagher placed first in the soda straw arm competition and Kohl and Stratton placed first in the challenge problem.

Bridge building, Zoe Joy and Ben Wilkins

Durbin and Danielson placed second in catapult and Wilkins and Joy placed second in bridge building.

Also on the team are Linsey Kitt and Hannah Yetter in soda straw arm. The team is coached by Launa Buxton.

The state Physics Olympics will be held Tuesday, April 11, at the University of Northern Iowa.

Physics Olympics team (from left) Hannah Yetter, Linsey Kitt, Thomas Jacobsen, Reid Stratton, Logan Kohl, Megan Durbin, Rachael Danielson, Britton Gallagher, Lucas Ausberger, Ben Wilkins, Zoe Joy.
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