The Ilan Ramon’s Science Olympiad for Junior High School students

Leading team

Project members

  • Dr. Ilana Hopfeld – coordinator
  • Dr. Diana Laufer
  • Marina Armiach
  • Dr. Ronny Mualem
  • Dr. Igal Patel


Over the course of human history, the study of Astronomy and space exploration have prompted new ideas about the working of the universe and the place humanity occupies within it. However, these fascinating subjects are not included currently in the formal Israeli Science and Technology Syllabus for junior high schools. This project aims to introduce these subjects through the competitive environment of a Space and Energy Olympiad. The Olympiad, named in memory of the first Israeli astronaut, Ilan Ramon (who was a crewmember on the Columbia Space Shuttle), had been taking place every year since the Columbia crash in 2003, with over 1500 junior high students participating each year.
The Olympiad is divided into four stages:

  1. An internet quiz for teams of interested junior high students;
  2. A complex scientific problem given to the 30 top-scoring teams;
  3. An improvement upon the top 10 teams’ proposed solution and a presentation (comprised of a PowerPoint presentation, a scientific poster and model);
  4. Closing ceremony, in which the winners are announced;

Results indicate that presenting student with real-world problems through collaborative work motivate learning by challenging their scientific knowledge, ingenuity and creativity.

Links for further reading