It's an opportunity for students who may one day aspire to be scientists and engineers to measure exactly how they stack up against their peers.

Their competitive nature will assuredly be put to the test when they compete in the 6th Annual Tiger Invitational Science Olympiad Competition, to be held Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Northwestern Lehigh High School.

An awards ceremony will follow at around 6:15-6:45 p.m. to give out medals to the top five places in each event, as well as to the top five teams overall, said Dave Moyer, Chemistry and Physics teacher.

This year, over 500 students - in 36 teams, from 22 schools, from six states - will converge to participate in 23 science and engineering events, said Moyer, who added it is the largest science and engineering competition of its kind in the Lehigh Valley.

Many local high schools, such as Lehighton, Allentown Central Catholic, Kutztown, Parkland, Whitehall, and host Northwestern, are involved in the competition, Moyer said.

Students qualify for the event by competing with fellow teammates for a position on a team, he said. Any school who registers with the National and State Science Olympiad may apply to send a team to an invitational, said Moyer, who added they accepted the first 36 teams that applied. Much of the content involved is college level, he said.

"Students who participate gain a deeper knowledge of the subjects they study and learn about possible career paths to pursue," Moyer said. "One of my former students got his job by describing the engineering he did in constructing and testing wooden structures for Science Olympiad."

Moyer said the competition "has helped our community to know what our club does. It has also given Northwestern an improved image in the science area."

"It has also provided a way to raise money to provide scholarships to graduating senior members of our club," he said. "Any school may host an invitational, but it is a lot of work."