About Model This!

The Cybereducation team of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) and TeraGrid developed Model This! as the first competition using system dynamics and agent modeling to challenge students in scientific inquiry. Developed in 2010 as a trial event, Model This! was successfully introduced at the Science Olympiad National Tournament held on the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in May 2010. A total of 46 Division B teams and 25 Division C teams participated in the trial event.

Why Model This!

Computation has transformed science in the past few decades. Scientists are using high performance computers to model and visualize more complex systems in ever increasing detail. Computational simulation has opened up new areas of scientific exploration, contributing to our understanding of a broad range of phenomena from the functioning of biological molecules and the decoding of genetic information to the tracking of hurricanes and the evolution of galaxies.

Computational modeling, using computational tools similar or even identical to those used by scientists, offer students insights into natural systems that are difficult, if not impossible, to obtain by any other means. The use of computational tools is especially critical when students are learning about objects far too small to be seen, e.g., molecules in chemistry; processes that are far too slow to be observed, e.g., movement of the earth's crustal plates in geology; or objects too large to be easily comprehended, e.g., clusters of galaxies in astronomy. The use of interactive computational tools turns science learning from a passive process to an active process that draws the students' knowledge ever forward.

About Science Olympiad

For the past 26 years, Science Olympiad has led a revolution in science education. What began as a grassroots assembly of science teachers is now one of the premiere science competitions in the nation, providing rigorous, standards-based challenges to nearly 6,000 teams in 49 states.

Science Olympiad competitions are like academic track meets, consisting of a series of 23 team events in each division (Division B is middle school; Division C is high school).

Each year, a portion of the events are rotated to reflect the ever-changing nature of genetics, earth science, chemistry, anatomy, physics, geology, mechanical engineering and computer technology. By combining events from all disciplines, Science Olympiad encourages a wide cross-section of students to get involved. Emphasis is placed on active, hands-on group participation. Through Science Olympiad, students, teachers, parents, principals and business leaders join together and work toward a shared goal.