60 students, 15 schools represented in 26th annual ‘Bioathlon’

HOUGHTON — For more than a quarter century, Michigan Tech has invited high school students to a competition of solving problems in the field and in the laboratory.

The 26th Annual Department of Biological Sciences Bioathlon featured roughly 60 students from 15 different high schools as they compete for cash prizes using basic biology skills.

It’s one way to take the students out of the classroom and get their hands dirty with science.

“Digging in the dirt for worms and plants and anything you can think of that’s out here, and different mosses and you need to know what’s on them and everything,” said West Iron County High School Sophomore Kailey Garavet. “We came here in vans and when we got out we got the instructions. We got twenty baggies and thirty items that we needed to get and forty minutes to do it.”

The teams earn points for completing the exercises and though the students really enjoy it, they come to win.

“It’s for fun and educational but it is a competition,” said Michigan Tech’s Departmental Laboratory Supervisor Jeff Lewin. “Some of the smaller schools have done very well year after year and they are very proud of that they can hold up the floor with the larger districts as well.”