Liberty students excel at Regional Science Bee

MADISON – Students at Liberty Middle School achieved dramatic results at the Regional Science Bee, and they qualified for further competitions in locations ranging from the D.C. area to Quito, Ecuador.

Hoover High School hosted the regional bee on April 8.

“I was very pleased with my students’ performance in these competitions because most questions in this tournament were material on an upper high-school and college level (like Science Olympiad and Science Bowl), meaning these students have a knowledge base well above their grade level,” Dr. Lori Shrode said.

Sponsor for Liberty Science Bee, Shrode teaches Medical Detectives and Life Science classes.

The National Science Bee competition begins with a qualifying test. “I proctored an online test for all students who wanted (in) this program. The qualifying exam ensures that students competing in regional/state/international competitions . . . have a strong science background. Students who met the test’s predetermined qualifying score advanced to a regional bee,” Shrode said.

“The regional bee is an in-person quiz competition (think “Jeopardy!”) against students of their same age group. The regional bee has four rounds where students compete to earn points by answering questions in an individual quiz competition,” Shrode said. “Students with the highest scores in the first three rounds advance to the final round where the points are erased, and they compete to determine the champion.”

Liberty students fared brilliantly:

* Sixth-grade winners — Prahaas Avula, first place; Jason Chacko, second; and Ananya Shankar, third.

Based on their performance, all three students qualified for the National Science Bee in Arlington, Va. in June. Prahaas and Jason qualified for the International Environmental Science Bee in Quito, Ecuador in July.

* Seventh-grade winners — Heidi Leonard, first place; and Harshtha Chander, third place. Heidi and Harshtha both qualified for the National Science Bee. Heidi also qualified for the International Environmental Science Bee.

* Eighth-grade — Praneel Avula, second place. Compared to other grade levels, this level involved a large group.

Praneel Avula, Nikhita Katragadda, Chandana Suru and Arya Bellamkonda qualified for the national bee in Arlington. Praneels Avula, Nikhitta Patragadda and Chandana Suru qualified for the International Environmental Science Bee in Quito, Ecuador in July.

“From students who qualified for the national bee in June, Prahaas, Ananya, Heidi, Harshtha, Nikhita, Praneel and Chandana will attend the national event in Arlington,” Shrode said. From students who qualified, Praneel, Prahaas, Chandana and Nikhita want to attend, but Shrode and the students currently are trying to find sponsors to help fund the trip to the competition.

“The regional site caps the total number of qualifying students allowed to compete in the region in order to make the first three rounds more equitable,” Shrode said. The following statistics demonstrate Liberty’s skills:

* Sixth grade – Four students total. All from Liberty.

* Seventh grade — Seven students total. Three from Liberty.

* Eighth grade — 15 students total. Seven from Liberty.

“Competition for the eighth-grade group was very competitive. We had met most of these students from other schools at the State Science Bowl and Science Olympiad tournaments,” Shrode, a National Board Certified Teacher, said.

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