Hermosa Middle School eighth graders, Cricket Meechan, left, and Kazhia Small, practice their song on Saturday for the Sounds of Music competition at the
Hermosa Middle School eighth graders, Cricket Meechan, left, and Kazhia Small, practice their song on Saturday for the Sounds of Music competition at the Science Olympiad at Mesa View Middle School in Farmington. Meechan constructed a "Charlotte" pipe using PVC piping, and Small created a "Hank" drum out of a propane tank. (Jon Austria /The Daily Times)

FARMINGTON — Hundreds of students from 14 teams ranging from Farmington to Crownpoint competed Saturday in the annual regional Science Olympiad.

The teams, consisting of middle school and high school students, gathered at Mesa View Middle School in Farmington for the competition. Students square off in various science competitions and test their knowledge through a series of tests.

Kimberly Begay, a senior at Newcomb High School, attended the event for the second year with a long list of events to compete in, from geologic mapping and rocks and minerals to circuits and anatomy and physiology.

Last year, Begay earned second place in circuits.

Kimberly Begay, a senior at Newcomb High School, reads instructions before proceeding with the circuit lab Saturday during the Science Olympiad at Mesa
Kimberly Begay, a senior at Newcomb High School, reads instructions before proceeding with the circuit lab Saturday during the Science Olympiad at Mesa View Middle School in Farmington. (Jon Austria /The Daily Times)

"This year, I'll try to do my best again," Begay said, looking down at the circuit material in front of her.

Elijah Montoya, an eighth-grade student at Hermosa Middle School, built a car with CDs as wheels for the wheeled-vehicle competition. He said the most difficult part about building the car was the axles.

"I had to keep them sturdy, that way they don't fall off," he said.

Montoya was the first to show off his car in the competition, and he watched as his competitors launched cars to see how far they could go.

On the other side of the cafeteria, Skyler Nash, a seventh grader at Kirtland Middle School, waited in line with her robot to compete in Robocross. In the event, robots -- which students built from kits prior to the event -- were required to pick up objects and move along a specific path.

Different students had different ideas for how to pick up the objects. Some opted to scoop up the object in a front-loader.

Nash, however, built her robot so it would grasp the object.

"It's easier to grab," Nash said, adding that it was also easier to control the robot that way.

Meanwhile, in the hallways, Cricket Meechan and Kahzia Small, both eighth-grade students at Hermosa, practiced their specially-designed musical instruments -- a set of "Charlotte" pipes, which are a variation on chimes, and a "Hank" drum, a small drum made from a propane tank that creates a melodic sound.

Kirtland Middle School students, Trystan Aspaas, left, and Tyrell Bruce, launch their rubber-band powered car during the wheeled-vehicle competition
Kirtland Middle School students, Trystan Aspaas, left, and Tyrell Bruce, launch their rubber-band powered car during the wheeled-vehicle competition Saturday at the Science Olympiad at Mesa View Middle School in Farmington. (Jon Austria / The Daily Times)

Meechan said she heard about the sounds of music event -- in which students build their own musical instruments and perform songs -- while she signed up for the olympiad.

"It sounded like a really fun idea," she said.

After signing up, Meechan and her mother tested PVC pipes to see how they would sound if hit on the top. They would cut the pipes to adjust their lengths and, consequently, their sounds.

Armed with tuning applications on their phones, Meechan and Small were able to tune their instruments, and they learned how to play "Under the Sea" from "The Little Mermaid."

They also learned how to play a tune assigned to them by the judges on Saturday.

Small had originally intended to build a steel drum, but she saw a video on YouTube of someone performing on a drum made from a propane tank. She decided to make her own drum using a propane tank.

To make the mallets, Small used long, metal screws and bouncy balls with holes drilled into them.

"They're actually a lot of fun to play," Small said.

Hannah Grover covers news, arts and religion for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 and hgrover@daily-times.com. Follow her @hmgrover on Twitter.