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Wisconsin: Five Madison middle schoolers will compete in April's National Science Bowl in Washington, DC . The Native American students have the opportunity to challenge themselves academically while representing their heritage.
"It makes me feel pretty good," said 11-year-old Jorge Saiz. "I feel like we're really showing what we can do."
The team comes from three Madison middle schools and five tribal nations:
7th grade, Hamilton School
7th grade, Cherokee Middle School
Muscogee and Choctaw
7th grade, Wright Middle School
6th grade, Hamilton School
6th grade, Wright Middle School
The students belong to Madison's chapter of AISES (the American Indian Science and Engineering Society). The team earned their way to national competition as undefeated champions of the 1st Annual Intertribal Middle School Science Bowl held in New Mexico.
Their adviser is Denise Thomas, coordinator of the district's science and engineering society.
The 6-day bowl began April 27, but students arrived a day early to sight-see and visit the National Museum of the American Indian.
In the National Science Bowl, students compete in a question and answer format to test their knowledge in math and science. NSB also has a hydrogen fuel cell car competition.
The Madison students worked with Mack Brittelle to construct and test the car. Mack is a doctoral student in mechanical engineering at UW-Madison. Jorge is team captain for that portion of the competition.
The American Indian Science and Engineering Society works to increase the numbers of American Indian and Alaskan Natives in engineering, science and technology. With this in mind, Gabriel Burns said the hydrogen fuel cell car competition could have broader implications.
"So we can learn how to build real hydrogen fuel cell cars and stop destroying the earth," Gabriel said.