Wednesday, February 21, 2024

From the left, eighth-graders Livvie Brubaker and Carlee Blodgett don their “Crime Busters” lab gear in preparation for the state Science Olympiad competitions at Montana State University in Bozeman to be held Nov. 24.

Rapelje students gear up for Science Olympiad

Rapelje eighth-graders Carlee Blodgett and Livie Brubaker will be heading back to Bozeman on Nov. 24 for the Montana Science Olympiad. Last year, the girls came in 16th out of 44 teams competing in the Crime Busters event.
“We proved Justin Bieber was guilty,” Blodgett said.
Equipped with a fingerprint kit, magnifying glass, microscope and slides, and litmus and other test papers, they inspected samples of hair, fibers and powder.
“We had to determine if some powder was sugar because the suspect had been to a doughnut shop,” Brubaker said.
The girls had to be as efficient as possible, getting through three or four stations and writing up a paper in under an hour.
“We scored 50 percent on the powder,” Blodgett said.
Twelve Rapelje students from grades 7-9 and 13 more from grades 9-12 will compete at the Olympiad held on the Montana State University campus, science teacher Nikki Markle said.
In the Bridge Building event, students construct a lightweight bridge that spans 35 centimeters with a 5 centimeter rise. A bucket is hung from the middle of the bridge, and sand is added until the bridge fails.
“They usually explode,” Markle said.
The best bridge last year had a 9.5 to 1 efficiency – it was capable of holding 9.5 grams for each gram of bridge weight. The Rapelje team came in ninth.
Blodgett and another eighth-grader, Lily Knoll, will compete in a new event called Crave The Wave. The girls are studying up on sound, light, water and earthquake waves. Another event called Picture This is similar to the game Pictionary – students must complete a drawing corresponding to a word on a card.
Blodgett said she wants to become a photojournalist after college and work for National Geographic. Brubaker said she wants to major in therapeutic horseback riding and help people with mental or physical disabilities.
For more information about the Montana Science Olympiad, visit online at