What is the Science Olympiad?

The Science Olympiad is a nationwide organization dedicated to promoting science education through conducting competitive science tournaments.  About 15,000 schools nationwide participate.

At a tournament, teams of up to 15 students compete in about 23 different science events that cover many different areas of science, technology, engineering, and math. Some events require constructing a project ahead of time. Others involve on the spot application of skills to a given problem. In most events, students compete in pairs, and a typical student enters three different events during the day. Awards at the end of the day include medals for individual students placing in an event, and cumulative scores yielding overall team placement at the tournament.

SO teams spend months preparing for the big competition, all the while learning new things and making new friends. The tournament is an exhausting but exciting day, and the winners get to go to nationals.

SO is also a very cost effective way of involving students in science. Registration is $180 for a team, or a little over ten dollars per student.


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Standards
The Science Olympiad is specifically cited in the National Science Standards as a model science activity. Each event is referenced to National Science Standards, with the reference grid on line at http://soinc.org/align_natl_stand and printed in the school manual.

Schools and Grades
The Science Olympiad is a school-based program. Public, private, and home schools are welcome. All students must attend the same school, and the school must be the official sponsor of the team. The SO in Connecticut runs two divisions: B: Division (Middle/Junior High School) for grades 6 to 9; middle schools are limited to five 9th graders. C: Division (High School) for grades 9 to 12; high school teams are limited to seven 12th grade students.

Coaches
Every team must have two coaches. Coaches do not have to be science teachers, but they must be responsible adults who will be at the tournament. Many teams find experts in the community to help with individual events. They are welcome to assist in judging at the tournament.

Rules sheets
The two most important things in preparing your team are the rules for each event, or “spec sheets” and the tournament schedule. The “spec sheets”, or official rules, are in the Rules Manual you will get when you register a team. Each event has a page or two of rules. Tournament schedules are usually available about mid-October for the following spring’s tournaments.