The second New Albany Science Olympiad Invitational on Feb. 23 will be three times the size of the school district's first in 2012, according to event organizers.
"Last year there were 24 teams from 12 schools," said event adviser Sarah Belfield. "This year, before (Jan. 30), we had 68 teams from 33 schools signed up."
The 2012 invitational featured middle school teams only. This year's competition has expanded to include high school teams.
Organizers are expecting 22 high school teams and 46 middle school teams, with about 990 students and more than 1,000 coaches, volunteers and parents, Belfield said. Students are coming from central Ohio, throughout the state and from some neighboring states.
Belfield said interest in Ohio competitions could have increased this year because the national Science Olympiad competition will be held May 17-18 at Wright State University in Dayton.
The Science Olympiad is a nonprofit organization that helps improve science education nationally "through classroom activities, research, training workshops and the encouragement of intramural, district, regional, state and national tournaments," according to the organization's website.
The competition challenges students to solve a variety of science-related problems. Belfield the middle school competitors would see the following topics: anatomy, disease, forestry, heredity, water quality, planets, meteorology, stars, rocks and minerals, heat, music, food science, mousetrap vehicles, helicopters and the metric system.
New Albany will have three middle school and two high school teams participating in the invitational. To prepare for all competitions, students work in groups after school trying to solve problems like those they face at each invitational.
New Albany's Science Olympiad teams benefit from the Foundation for Academic Excellence, started four years ago by local parents to support district programs that require extra expenses for students, said Parag Patel, one of the nonprofit foundation's organizers.
Patel said the foundation provides not only monetary contributions to keep programs going, but also volunteers, leadership, website coordination and data collection and management.