Elementary Science Olympiad

ESO brings science to life


ESO Director: Matt Capps


2017 -2018 Elementary Tournaments

  • Oahu Mililani ESO Tournament – TBD
  • Kauai ESO Tournament – TBD
  • Maui ESO Tournament – TBD
  • Molokai ESO Tournament – TBD
  • Big Island ESO Tournament – TBD


Elementary Science Olympiad (ESO) is open to all public, private, charter, and home schools in Hawaii as well as groups that involve students in grades 3 – 6 (i.e Cub/Girl/Boy Scouts and after school programs).  Up to two teams per group can be registered.

ESO 2017 Coaches Manual

ESO-New-Coach-HandbookDownload the new ESO Coaches Handbook  to learn more about Elementary Science Olympiad (ESO)  in general and what we do locally in the Hawaii State Science Olympiad (HSSO) ESO program.  This handbook will teach you about the different events and how you can participate.  It will also cover the conduct of participants, the role of parents, provide scheduling tips, review how to setup a team and much more.

Download ESO Coaches Manual

Registration Fee:

  • Registration fee is $150 for the first team and $100 for the second team
  • Payment can be made by check (made out HSSO) or school purchase order.

2017 Hawaii State Science Olympiad Elementary Events


ESO Events

3, 2, 1, Blast Off!
(Science Application and Technology) Prior to the tournament,  teams construct two rockets designed to stay aloft for the greatest amount of time.  Rockets are made from 2 liter soda bottles and pressurized with air and water.
Biome Bonanza

(Science Concepts and Knowledge)
 Teams will be assessed on their knowledge of the following biomes: Desert and Tundra. Topics include but are not limited to the ecology of the biomes and the roles and interactions of organisms within them.

Chew the Fat

(Science Concepts and Knowledge) Teams will demonstrate knowledge of the human digestive system and proper nutrition.

Describe It, Build It
(Science Process and Thinking Skills)
Technical writing skills are an important part of an engineer or scientist’s abilities to communicate precisely and clearly. This event will test a team’s ability to effectively communicate by having one team member write a description of how to build a device and having his or her partner re-construct the device from raw materials.
Disease Detectives

(Science Process and Thinking Skills)
 Students will be tested on their knowledge, observational, analytical, and investigative skills in the study of disease, risk, spread, and prevention in populations or groups of people with a focus on food borne illnesses.


ESO Events

Experimental Design
(Science Process and Thinking Skills) This event will determine a team’s ability to design, conduct, and report the findings of an experiment actually conducted on site.
Fossil Frenzy

(Science Concepts and Knowledge)
Teams will identify rocks and minerals based on physical and chemical properties and uses. A list of rocks and minerals is provided with the rules.

Grasp a Graph

(Science Process and Thinking Skills) Teams will interpret and organize information using pictographs, pie, bar, and line graphs and Venn Diagrams.

Gunk Challenge
(Science Application and Technology)
Each team will design a piece of material called “gunk” from three specific materials in order to meet criteria announced at the event.
Pasta Tower
(Science Application and Technology)
Prior to the tournament, teams will design and build the lightest pasta tower, with the highest structural efficiency, capable of supporting a load of up to 10.0 kg. Each team may bring and enter only one tower.

ESO Events

Mousetrap Vehicle

(Science Application and Technology)
 Teams design, build, and test one vehicle using a mousetrap as its sole means of propulsion to reach a target as quickly, accurately, and close to their predicted time as possible.

Science Sketchers
(Science Process and Thinking Skills) Team members will take turns drawing pictures of a set of scientific terms or concepts from across all 3rd – 6th grade science objectives for their teammates to guess. Teams of up to 3.
Sky Quest

(Science Process and Thinking Skills)
Teams will be tested on their knowledge of the solar system. Possible topics include the sun, moon, planets, rotation versus orbit, moon phases, seasons, and identification of constellations/stars based on a provided list.

What's the Matter?
(Science Process and Thinking Skills)
Teams will be assessed on their knowledge of the physical properties of matter and the behavior of solids, liquids, and gases before and after they undergo physical or chemical changes or interactions.
Which Way is North?
(Science Process and Thinking Skills) Students will test their map reading skills by answering geographical questions using maps of different kinds.

HSSO Elementary Science Olympiad Calendar

  • ESO Presentation/Coaches Workshop
What is Elementary Science Olympiad?

The Science Olympiad is a national nonprofit organization devoted to improving the quality of science education, increasing student interest in science, and providing recognition for outstanding achievement in science education by both students and teachers. The Elementary Science Olympiad is also designed to encourage classroom teachers to explore new and challenging ways of teaching science. The Science Olympiad tournaments are academic interscholastic competitions which consist of a series of individual and team events which students prepare for during the year. Most Science Olympiad events are team competitions which require teamwork, group planning and cooperation. The emphasis is on learning, participation, interaction, and having fun. A competitive Elementary Science Olympiad (ESO) for Grades 3-6 will not only get kids in the district ready for the competitive Division B program for Grades 6 – 9, it’s also a wonderful supplement to any school’s science curriculum. At the same time you cover the skeletal system, students preparing for an ESO contest can study A is for Anatomy or No Bones About It. Many teachers use the competitive ESO events to add a hands-on element to their classroom schedule. Teams of up to fifteen students prepare throughout the year to compete in an elementary tournament.  Any given team may have only one entry per event.  An entry is a team of up to 2 out of 15 students competing in any one event as the representatives of their team.  Teams may compete in as many of as few events as they wish at the tournament.

How much does it cost?


  • Membership per Year – $100 per team (2016-2017). This fee covers a coaches’ manual, coaches clinic as well as materials, resources, trophies, medals, and other expenses for the tournament.
  • The rest of the costs are very dependent on the event. Events that require building something do involve more expenses; however, at the elementary level these costs are nominal. Most materials for practicing for events can be found in schools, garages, and the internet. A ROUGH estimate of the supplies needed for one team would be no more than $200 NOT including the membership per year.


Why should students be involved with Elementary Science Olympiad in Hawai‘i?


Now, more than ever, Hawai‘i’s students must improve their performance in science. This is especially true at the elementary level where students are building their knowledge base that will serve as a gateway for future science courses and ultimately career choices. It is particularly important in Hawai‘i that elementary students have more opportunities for gaining knowledge and understanding in science with the imposing standardized testing of science which has made its way into public elementary schools in Hawai‘i.

With the new testing in science, it is not the goal to take away any teaching time from the basics or any other subject, but instead enrich and enhance the opportunities in science education for elementary school students. The elementary years are important for influencing young students’ perceptions about science. It is during these years that students, if taught science in a hands-on, problem-based manner, begin to develop important lifelong science literacy skills, such as problem solving, critical thinking, self-regulated learning and team work. With the added pressure of testing and future occupations moving rapidly in the direction of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, it is important that students and educators benefit from every opportunity they are given to further their science education. The Elementary Science Olympiad will improve the learning of science for all students and celebrate their efforts.