PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- From aerodynamics to the chopper challenge, more than 100 students from seven Philadelphia elementary schools were immersed in hands-on experiments and activities on Wednesday for the Science Olympiad Tournament at Philadelphia School District Headquarters.
"Our children are natural scientists so we believe that giving them these opportunities to engage in these STEM-related activities unlocks other pathways in their brains that allow them to develop in ways we may not even be thinking about," said Dr. Nyshawana Francis-Thompson, from the district's Office of Curriculum and Instruction.
The third through sixth-grade students have been working together this school year to explore numerous topics in science, technology, engineering and math.
Students studied, prepared, and then competed in categories ranging from 'Crime Busters' to 'Sink or Float'.
"They give us some objects, and we guess if they sink or float, like rocks or popsicle sticks or pencils," said Amelia Brugger Ford of Houston Elementary.
"If it is more dense than water it will sink, and if it's less dense than water it will float," said Julia Boyd of Nazareth Academy Grade School.
"Crime Busters is where you solve a mystery, and you use like chemicals and stuff," said Kelly Konrad of Nazareth Academy Grade School.
Nathan Yew of Houston Elementary studied for his events.
"I first researched on Google and wrote a note about it," Yew shared.
Some students are back for another year. Others are first-timers.
"I wanted to try a new thing," said Marc Davis of Houston Elementary.
"You might not know something that you can maybe learn in science," said Grace Brzycki of Nazareth Academy Grade School.
Preparation is involved, but it's also fun, which keeps children engaged in this material.
"I just think that people think that science could be boring, but it's actually not. It's fun and interesting," said Jocelyn Pigott of Nazareth Academy Grade School.
"If we can get kids excited and interested now, it will open up a whole world of possibilities for them," said KD Davenport, director of science at the school district.