Chemathon team succeeds in competition


Photo courtesy Julie Baker

Members of the Chemathon team pose for a picture outside of the University of Maryland on April 29. The team placed in several individual events during the competition.

Chemathon team member Olivia Collins nervously mixes two solutions. The clock is ticking, and she and her partner only have seconds left to produce a reaction. Full of anxious anticipation, Collins watches her solution change color with one second to spare. With a sigh of relief, she moves to the next event in the competition.

This year, the chemathon team placed in four events during their competition on April 29. The competition was held at The University of Maryland with a total of 21 schools each in level. Level 1 consisted of first year chemistry students and level 2 consisted of AP chemistry students.

JC’s Level 1 team placed third in the Threaded Ions competition as well as achieving fifth place in the Chemystrie competition in which they had to figure out the unknowns in solutions.

Additionally, the Level 2 team placed in the Bionic Eye competition, a surprise event added this year. In this event, students had to figure out the concentration of an unknown based on a colored solution. They also achieved fifth place for the alum crystal they grew.

According to Chemathon moderator and science teacher Dr. Julie Baker, there are a total of 10 events of varying mediums that students can compete in. “Some [of the events] are experiments, and some of them are pencil and paper kind where you have to solve problems or balance equations,” Baker said. The team also had to complete components of the competition before they arrived, such as growing the crystal of alum and making a poster.

Baker was pleased with the results from Chemathon this year. “I was so happy for them. They practice basically the whole year on learning of the events [and] problems,” she said. Baker was also impressed with the team’s problem-solving skills and hard work. “They are not allowed to have notes on the procedure and the calculations. They pretty much had to know it out of their brain.”

Baker also noted several events in which members of the team excelled. “One of the Level 2 events is called beat the clock. The goal is you have two solutions and you have to mix them together in the right amount and they turn color,” she said. “[They only had] 56 seconds to see the blue color. Olivia Collins and Jerry Wang figured it out in 55 seconds and got it to turn … They did really well, so I was very proud of them.”

Collins enjoyed being a part of Chemathon this year. “It was really fun because we all grew really close,” she said. “I haven’t done anything like that before, so I was kind of scared, but [Mrs. Baker] made it really easy.”

While the team did well this year, they didn’t make it in the top 10 schools, something the team has achieved in the past. “I don’t know overall what we placed,” Baker said, “The competition was so fierce.”

Collins plans to participate in Chemathon next year and hopes to do well again. “It really helped me in the class, and I just had a lot of fun doing it, and I love chemistry,” she said.

Taylor Bynion is a Copy Editor for The Patriot and