Frequently Asked Questions

How can I become involved with Science Olympiad?

There are a variety of ways you can become involved with Science Olympiad. At the school level, anyone can coach a team for the competition. Coaches do NOT have to be a teacher at a participating school. Interested volunteers can help schools prepare by being the head coach, or coaching specific events they are interested in or have expertise in. For example, a engineering professor from UH can help a team at Kaimuki High School in the building of their bridges, towers or launching devices for the annual competition. At the state level, HSSO committee is looking for good people to help organize the Olympiad itself (as the tournament coordinator), create and judge events, assist in recruiting volunteers, visiting schools to talk with students and teachers, as well as helping with supervise events, handle food and security at the Olympiad in March. We are also looking for people to begin organizing Science Olympiad teams and a tournament for the Middle School level (Division B). Email regarding ways to join and help Science Olympiad at the school and/or state level.

What grade levels can participate in the Olympiad?
The regional and statewide Hawai‘i State Science Olympiad competitions are for Divisions B (middle school) and C (secondary school) students.
Is there an elementary school program?

Yes! Elementary school students and teachers can participate in Science Olympiad through a Family Fun Day/Night. These are usually intra-school competitions (i.e. all 3rd graders compete in 3rd grade events, 4th graders in 4th grade events, etc.). Students compete in exciting, challenging, and hands-on/minds-on activities connected to biology, chemistry, engineering, ecology and more! Elementary Schools can also hold inter-school competitions (3rd graders from Mike Schmidt Elementary School compete with 3rd graders from Buddy Cianci Elementary School). If you would like to learn more about the Elementary School program, please email us at

Where can I get information about the events for the 2012 Hawai'i Science Olympiad?

As of this posting (6/4/2011) the details for the 2012 events are still being worked out.  Rules manuals will be available in late July – early August.  Your team will receive a rules manual upon registration starting in August.

Why doesn't HSSO run all of the event offered on the National Science Olympiad site?

There are a couple of reasons for this. 1) Since this is the 8th annual tournament we are still growing. For 2007, we held 10 Division C events. For 2008, we have 12 Division C events and 6 Division B events…for 2011 we are running 15 C events and 12 B events! 2) HSSO made a conscious decision early on to have fewer “GREAT” events rather than lots of “MEDIOCRE” ones. We feel that this strategy has worked as the number of schools participating has increased each year. 3) While LCC has been a great home for the HSSO tournament, it does not possess the facilities for some events.

Is it possible for my family/company to donate to Science Olympiad?

Absolutely! HSSO is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, so donations are tax deductible. They also help the most important resource our state and country has…its children. Please click on “Make a Donation” to learn how to donate to HSSO, where the money you donate will go, and to view our helpful guide on monetary donations. All donors, unless otherwise specified, will be named in the tournament program distributed to all students, teachers, parents and staff.

Why aren't the rules for events posted on the web site?

The events and rules for Science Olympiad are copyrighted and may not be placed on the web without the permission of the Science Olympiad National Executive Board of Directors. They have voted unanimously NOT to post the rules on the website for numerous reasons. Some issues and concerns that had an impact on the decision were; membership timing and delays, graphics and charts, bogus electronic copies, school’s inability to download or open documents, downloading platforms and other problems. Other Science Olympiad manuals (but not the rule books) contribute to the revenue which keeps the organization financially sound and able to provide the high-quality educational experience that it does.

Why can't I watch all of the events at the Regional and Statewide Tournaments?

We understand the desire of parents, siblings, and coaches to look in on students participating in ALL of the events. Unfortunately, we cannot allow this for three reasons: 1) Safety – Some of the events, such as Chemistry Lab, require students to wear protective clothing (i.e. lab aprons/goggles) that you don’t have. We want you to be safe. 2) Security – Science Olympiad tournament involve students in grades 6-12 and HSSO takes their security very seriously. We want to make sure the ONLY people in a room for an event are supposed to be there. 3) Distraction – We want to limit the number of “distractions” during events. Having parents, siblings, and/or coaches in the room can be distracting and intimidating for students. You want them to do their best…and so do we!

Does a team in the Olympiad have to participate in ALL of events offered?

No, but… Teams entering the Olympiad are not required to participate in a certain number of events. Students can and are encouraged to participate in events that they are interested in, that’s just one of the ways Science Olympiad is fun for all students, but there is no requirement regarding the number of events to participate in. However, we at HSSO hope that students and teachers find the events we have selected for the Olympiad interesting, exciting and fun and want to participate in all of them. If you would like to help in the selection of events for the annual Olympiad, contact us about becoming an a member of the executive committee. Visit the Event Supervisor section of this site to download the scoring rubric, or download the coaches manual.

How many students can be on a team?

The maximum number of students that can be on any one team is 15. The minimum number of students is 1, but many events are team oriented so having at least 2 people will help. Schools competing can field more than one team, however each team of up to 15 students must submit their own registration forms (both national and state) and fees in order to compete. Small schools and home schools can combine to form a team of no more than 15 students. Please visit the “Coaches Information” section to view the small/home school policy.

Can a school field more than one team?

Yes. Any school can field more than one team, to do so that school MUST submit both state and national registration paperwork for as many teams as they want to field. Example: James Woods High School wants to have two teams. They must submit national registration fees and paperwork for both teams, as well as state registration fees and paperwork for both teams. A single team can have no more than 15 students, so if your school has more than 15 students interested in participating then we recommend having more than one team. As of July 2008, HSSO has limited the number of teams per school to no more than two.

Why the change in policy?

This policy is based similar policies in states around the country and conforms to the national policy as well. This helps us to ensure a rigorous and fair competition for all students. This policy also prevents a single school from “dominating” over the other schools in terms of awards and trophies. If you have any questions, please e-mail us at

What does the $75 (plus tax and shipping & handling) membership fee cover?

The one time annual membership fee of $75 plus tax and shipping & handling (about $93.75 total) covers your school’s membership to Science Olympiad for the entire school year, gets your team a copy of the rules manual to prepare for tournaments, and enables your team to enter one of HSSO’s regional tournaments.  If you team qualifies for the statewide tournament and/or national tournament you will NOT have to pay another membership fee.  $60 (per team) is paid to the National Science Olympiad by HSSO.  The remaining funds are used by HSSO to cover some of the cost of medals, trophies, and plaques for each of the regional tournaments (the statewide tournament medals, trophies, and plaques are provided for free by the national organization to us); shipping of manuals to each team after they register; and help cover some of the other administrative costs associated with running five regional tournaments and the annual statewide tournament.