By Steve Tawa

ASTON, Pa., (CBS) – Young scientists gathered to showcase their inventions at a Science Olympiad at Neumann University.

KYW’s Steve Tawa checked out the tournament on the campus in Aston, Delaware County.

The focus for 1,200 6th through 12th graders in the five county Philadelphia region was projects in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, or STEM disciplines.

Neumann Communications Professor Magaret Stewart says each school-based club was allowed to bring 15 students.

“It gives young students the opportunity to build their confidence in a healthy, competitive way,” said Stewart.

Garnet Valley High students Lainie Beauchemin and Natalia Orlovsky hit the mark in the air trajectory competition.

“The goal is to launch a ping pong ball a specific distance, and get it as close to target as possible.”

If they ultimately seek scientific careers when they grow up, they’ll remember this Science Olympiad, since teamwork is a required skill — and the emphasis was active, hands-on group participation.

Haverford Middle School students Elizabeth Forsyth and Evan Peetros brought their A game to the bottle rocket competition, taping a two liter bottle with fins.

“Our aim was to launch it and have it tilt sideways, and fall down like a leaf.”

(Reporter:) “How was the actually mission?”

“It didn’t go too well, because it didn’t go up straight. It kind of went up wonky.”

Winners get a place in the state competition, whose winners will go on to a national tournament.