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What is Science Olympiad

Schools

Students

Events

Science Olympiad’s Mission:

To improve the quality of k-12 science education for all students in the State of Hawai’i.

The Science Olympiad Vision:

  • To create a passion for learning science by supporting elementary and secondary Science Olympiad tournaments at building, district, county and state levels with an emphasis on teamwork and a commitment to excellence.
  • To improve the quality of k-12 science education throughout Hawai’i to change the way science is perceived and the way it is taught (with an emphasis on problem solving skills and hands-on, minds-on constructivist learning practices).
  • To celebrate and recognize the outstanding achievement of both students and teachers in areas of science and technology by awarding certificates, medals and scholarships.
  • To promote partnerships among community, businesses, industry, government and education.
  • To improve and restructure the way science is taught and learned by conducting staff development and curriculum development workshops.

Purposes of the Science Olympiad Tournaments:

  • To bring science to life, to show how science works, to emphasize problem solving aspects of science and the understanding of science concepts.
  • To develop teamwork and cooperative learning strategies among students.
  • To make science education more exciting so more students will enroll in science courses and engage in other science activities like science reading, fairs, meetings and field trips.
  • To promote high levels of achievement and a commitment to excellence , to demonstrate that students in Hawai’i can perform at levels that surpasses expectations of even practicing scientists and engineers.
  • To attract more students particularly females and minorities to professional and technical careers in science, technology and science teaching.

This goal as accomplished through in-depth core curriculum training workshops and the distribution of curriculum materials to hundreds of teachers.

2016 Division B HSSO Statewide Events

R

Life, Personal, and Social Science

Anatomy & Physiology (B)

This event encompasses the anatomy and physiology of selected body systems, this year limited to skeletal, muscular and integumentary systems.

Bio Process Lab (B)

A lab-oriented competition involving the fundamental science processes of a middle school life science/biology lab program.

Disease Detective (B/C)

Students will use investigative skills in the scientific study of disease, injury, health and disability in populations or groups of people with a focus on population growth.

Invasive Species (B/C)

This event will test student knowledge of invasive species in local and national ecosystems.  Regional and State Finals competitions will include both the State and National Invasive Species Lists.

R

Technology and Engineering

Bridge Building (B/C)

Teams will design and build the lightest bridge with the highest structural efficiency that can span a given opening meeting the requirements given.

Scrambler (B)

Competitors must design, build and test a mechanical device which uses the energy from a falling mass to transport an egg along a track as quickly as possible and stop as close to the center of a terminal barrier without breaking the egg.

R

Earth and Space Science

Dynamic Planet (B/C)

Teams will use NGSS science and engineering practices to complete tasks related to physical and geological oceanography.

Fossils (B/C)

Teams will demonstrate their knowledge of ancient life by identifying fossils and answering questions about classification, habitat, ecologic relationships, behaviors, environmental adaptations and the use of fossils to date and correlate rock units.

Meteorology (B)

This event involves the use of process skills to demonstrate a multidisciplinary understanding of the Earth systems and anthropogenic factors that influence world climate.

Reach for the Stars (B)

Students will demonstrate an understanding of the properties and evolution of stars especially star forming regions and supernova remnants and their observation with different portions of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Road Scholar (B)

Teams will answer interpretive questions that may use one or more state highway maps, USGS topographic maps, Internet-generated maps, a road atlas or satellite/aerial images.

R

Inquiry and Nature of Science

Bottle Rocket (B)

Prior to the tournament, teams construct two rockets designed to stay aloft for the greatest amount of time.

Picture This (B)

Team members will take turns drawing representations of a set of scientific terms/concepts (not scientists) while the other team member guesses the term being drawn.

Write It/Do It (B/C)

A technical writing exercise where students write a description of a contraption and other students will attempt to recreate it using only the written description.

R

Physical Science and Chemistry

Air Trajectory (B/C)

Prior to the competition, teams will design, construct and calibrate a single device capable of launching projectiles into a target and collect data regarding device parameters and performance.

Wind Power (B/C)

Teams will build a blade assembly that consists of any kind of propeller/pinwheel/rotor attached to a CD which will be used to capture wind power. Students will also be tested on their knowledge relating to alternative energy.

Food Science (B)

Teams will study the science behind milk products and experiment with ingredients and physical parameters to produce and analyze these products.

2016 Division C HSSO Statewide Events

R

Life, Personal, and Social Science

Anatomy & Physiology (B/C)

This event encompasses the anatomy and physiology of selected body systems, this year limited to skeletal, muscular and integumentary systems.

Cell Biology (C)

This event integrates content knowledge and process skills in the areas of cell biology and cellular biochemistry.

Disease Detective (B/C)

Students will use investigative skills in the scientific study of disease, injury, health and disability in populations or groups of people with a focus on population growth.

Invasive Species (B/C)

This event will test student knowledge of invasive species in local and national ecosystems. Regional and State Finals competitions will include both the State and National Invasive Species Lists.

R

Technology and Engineering

Bridge Building (B/C)

Teams will design and build the lightest bridge with the highest structural efficiency that can span a given opening meeting the requirements given.

Electric Vehicle (C)

Teams must design, build and test one vehicle that uses electrical energy as its sole means of propulsion to travel as quickly as possible and stop close to a Target Point.

Robot Arm (C)

Prior to the competition, teams must design, build, document and test one robotic device to move scoreable items.

R

Earth and Space Science

Astronomy (C)

Teams will demonstrate an understanding of the basic concepts of math and physics relating to stellar evolution and Type II supernovas.

Dynamic Planet (B/C)

Teams will use NGSS science and engineering practices to complete tasks related to physical and geological oceanography.

Fossils (B/C)

Teams will demonstrate their knowledge of ancient life by identifying fossils and answering questions about classification, habitat, ecologic relationships, behaviors, environmental adaptations and the use of fossils to date and correlate rock units.

R

Inquiry and Nature of Science

Experimental Design (B/C)

Given a set of unknown objects, teams will design, conduct, analyze and write-up an experiment.

Game On (C)

This event will determine a team’s ability to design and build an original computer game incorporating the theme provided to them by the supervisor using the program Scratch.

Hydrogeology (C)

Students will manipulate a groundwater computer model, answer questions about groundwater concepts, and evaluate solutions, based on hydrogeological evidence, to reduce anthropogenic effects on groundwater.

Write It/Do It (B/C)

A technical writing exercise where students write a description of a contraption and other students will attempt to recreate it using only the written description.

R

Physical Science and Chemistry

Air Trajectory (B/C)

Prior to the competition, teams will design, construct and calibrate a single device capable of launching projectiles into a target and collect data regarding device parameters and performance.

Chemistry Lab (C)

Teams will demonstrate chemistry laboratory skills related to kinetics, chemical reactions and stoichiometry.

Protein Modeling (C)

Students will use computer visualization and online resources to construct physical models of proteins.

Wind Power (B/C)

Teams will build a blade assembly that consists of any kind of propeller/pinwheel/rotor attached to a CD which will be used to capture wind power. Students will also be tested on their knowledge relating to alternative energy.

HSSO Policies 

Parent Participation

Science Olympiad is an exciting program and we know that parents are eager to help their child succeed. It can be difficult, however, to know where to draw the line in assisting your child, particularly with construction events. These guidelines are to help parents discern how to appropriately help their child without endangering their child’s participation in the program.

What can & should parents do?

  • Ensure that your child makes all event and team meetings.
  • Fill out any required forms on time.
  • Ask your team’s head coach how you can be helpful for the team. Help may be needed with mentoring students in events, fundraising, travel, hospitality, etc.
  • Take your child shopping for materials. Help them find resources to learn about their events. Teach them to use tools. Help them understand the underlying principles for their event. Be a sounding board for their ideas, but do not control their ideas.
  • Help your child pack up and transport their materials or constructed device to tournaments.
  • Volunteer to help at tournaments. Each team must contribute two volunteers to make sure that tournaments are adequately staffed.
  • Be a great cheerleader and model good sportsmanship for your child. Focus more on the learning and teamwork rather than tournament results. Encourage student collaboration with teammates.

What things should parents NOT do?

  • Construct anything on competition devices. If students cannot do something safely by themselves, they must find another way to accomplish the same objective or change their design. (At tournaments, students may be extensively questioned about device construction and functioning and will be disqualified if unable to answer satisfactorily.)
  • Test, assemble, or calibrate competition devices at any time.
  • Enter the competition area at tournaments, interfere with an event in any way, or offer advice or coaching from the sidelines, even if acting as a team mentor for the event. Appropriate penalties will be assessed for interference.
  • Touch or take pictures of another team’s devices.
  • Contact the VA State organization directly with concerns or questions; these should be addressed by your team head coach who can seek further clarification with HSSO if necessary.

NOTE: This policy is slightly more restrictive than the National-level policy. In HSSO’s experience, middle and high school students have the ability to learn most tools and also have open to them many ways to construct devices. HSSOstrongly encourages teamwork and urges students to utilize the skills of other students on their 15-person team.

Parents are asked to review this policy, particularly if they are mentoring students in construction events.

Constructed Devices

This policy applies to events that require students to construct a device and bring it to Science Olympiad competitions, either in components or as a completed device. Note that this applies to more than just the traditional “engineering” events — other events may fit this description as well. The words construct and build are used interchangeably throughout HSSO’s policies.

Construction: Devices may be constructed only by members of the 15-student team, excluding alternates. Mentors (parents, coaches, teachers, hobbyists, etc.) are absolutely prohibited from constructing any part of the device presented for judging, though they are expected to train and oversee team members in the safe and proper usage of tools. Therefore, team members are required to design their device so that they can build it safely by themselves. Students who are not comfortable using (or do not have access to) a tool may enlist any other member of their 15-student team who can help.

Exception: A hardware store (not a mentor) may make a few simple straight cuts in large pieces of lumber.

Exception: Mentors may construct items other than the competition device specified by the event rules, such as testing jigs.

Primary Builders: The primary builders of a device are the one or two team members that contributed the most to the device’s construction. Event supervisors will ask who the primary builders are at the start of competition.

Device Parts: Teams may purchase commercially available parts or manufacture their own parts. Parts may not be manufactured by non-team members. Teams may reuse commercially available parts that are salvaged from retired devices of other teams. Teams may reuse salvaged manufactured parts only if those parts were originally manufactured by one of the primary builders.

Operation: A primary builder must operate the device in competition.*

Impound: For impound events, only a team member may impound the device.*

Tournaments: A device may be used at multiple tournaments, including tournaments in different years, only by one of the primary builders of the device.

Team Recomposition: HSSO recognizes that schools are likely to create new 15-student teams for different tournaments in the competition year. This does not necessitate a total device rebuild as long as the device remains with, and is operated by, a primary builder. A primary builder is permitted to work with new team members to modify that same device even though the primary builder originally constructed the device with a different set of team members.

Use of Kits: Teams are encouraged to design and construct their own customized devices. However, teams are permitted to construct their devices from purchased complete kits only if those complete kits are substantially and materially customized. Devices constructed from complete kits will be closely scrutinized by event supervisors to ensure that teams have sufficiently complied with the spirit of the competition by truly designing and constructing their own custom device.

Compliance: Event supervisors may extensively question the primary builders concerning their device. Questions may address (but are not limited to) the overall design and construction, the component parts, and how they operate and function in the device. Other students on the team may also be questioned at the discretion of the event supervisor or the appeals committee. If the students cannot answer the questions satisfactorily, then the event supervisor has grounds to believe the students did not construct the device, and the team will be penalized, up to disqualification.

* More restrictive than National’s General Rule #7 (back page of rule manual)

 

Team coaches are asked to discuss this policy with team members, other coaches, parents and administrators. A signature from the head coach acknowledging this policy, its consequences, and the sharing of this information will be required in the registration packet.

“Disqualification” results in a score two places greater than the number of teams competing in the tournament. These penalties supersede any of those prescribed in specific event rules.

Design, Advice, & Mentorship

For all Science Olympiad events, including building events, teams are permitted to solicit ideas, seek advice, and work with mentors. For example, teams may:

  • Collaborate with other teams.
  • Discuss solutions with all types of mentors, including parents, coaches, Science Olympiad alumni, or anyone else.
  • Reverse engineer other designs or methods, including those shown on the Internet, plans available for purchase, or observed techniques. However, HSSO does not allow photography or video of other teams’ devices at tournaments or other HSSO events.

Important Caveats

  • Although HSSO encourages active mentoring, mentors are prohibited from building any part of a device, as specified in the Constructed Devices policy.
  • While teams from the same school may share information or designs, team members may not build anything on another team’s device, as specified in theConstructed Devices policy.
  • HSSO strongly discourages mentors from directing competitors toward a particular solution. Ultimately, competitors should make their own design decisions.
  • If a competitor utilizes a 3-D printer for pieces of their competition device, the competitor must do the design and CAD work.

In order to eliminate uncertainty, HSSO will not consider teams to be in violation for utilizing outside design help, even if this results in teams bringing identically designed devices to a tournament.

Team coaches are asked to discuss this policy with team members, other coaches, parents and administrators. A signature from the head coach acknowledging this policy, its consequences, and the sharing of this information will be required in the registration packet.

HSSO Rule Enforcement

There are three types of Science Olympiad tournaments in Virginia: Invitational, Regional, and State. Generally, rule enforcement is more lenient at early tournaments, where the emphasis is on allowing students to compete and assess their own readiness, and becomes stricter at later tournaments, where rigorous adherence to the rules is expected. In particular:

  • At invitational tournaments, significant opportunity may be given to competitors to correct rule violations. However, HSSO does not directly oversee invitational tournaments. Consult the invitational tournament director for details concerning their enforcement of event rules.
  • At regional and state tournaments, rules are strictly enforced, with one exception for construction violations (see below).

Regional Enforcement Exception

At regional tournaments, event supervisors may allow teams to use a portion of their event time to fix construction violations discovered during inspection. Teams must remain in the competition area and use only tools brought with them. Teams may not use power tools or other tools that the Event Supervisor deems unsafe. Finally, teams may use this exception only once during their event time, after which the team must use their remaining time to compete.

Event supervisors will announce and prominently display at the start of competition how many minutes of the event time teams may use to fix construction violations. This may vary by event according to the specific event rules, but two to five minutes is recommended.

State Enforcement Exception

By the state tournament, teams should know the rules and clearly understand the expectations set by Science Olympiad. The Regional Enforcement Exception applies, with all of its rules, however the time allowed to fix construction violations is fixed at 30 seconds.

Team coaches are asked to discuss this policy with team members, other coaches, parents and administrators. A signature from the head coach acknowledging this policy, its consequences, and the sharing of this information will be required in the registration packet.

Impound

“Impound” is the period of time, before the start of a Tournament, when teams must submit their constructed devices to Event Supervisors to be stored in secure locations. This will ensure that teams cannot modify their devices after the competition has begun, thus promoting a fair competition.

Impound FAQ’s

What happens while my device is in impound?

The Event Supervisor may make a preliminary construction check of the device to determine whether it is in compliance with the construction requirements for the event. However, the formal construction compliance check will be conducted in the presence of the team members when the team members arrive back to the competition area to compete in the event.

Who may impound devices?

The device must be impounded by one or more of the 15 members competing on the team. The team members impounding the device do not need to be the ones who built it.
NOTE: This policy is more restrictive than the National rules.

May we ask the Event Supervisor whether our design is in compliance and then modify it before impound?

No. However, teams may inquire about compliance during the formal construction check, which will occur immediately prior to the team’s competition slot. Depending on the tournament type, teams may or may not be permitted to modify their design to correct construction violations. Refer to “HSSO Rules Enforcement Policy” for more information on this topic.

When is impound?

Devices are impounded by all teams before the actual start of the competition. Impound times for each event will be clearly indicated on the tournament schedule.

What should be impounded?

The list of what needs to be impounded differs by event, so read the event rules carefully to make sure that you have a complete list. In general, the device (including spare parts or accessories) and any graphs, written submittals, or log books will be impounded. Eye protection does not need to be impounded. Unless specified by the event rules, tools for device repair (see “HSSO Rules Enforcement Policy”) do not need to be impounded.

Are there some Building events that do not require impounding?

Yes, though, most building events require devices to be impounded. Impound requirements are listed in the national rules; however HSSO may decide to alter those requirements. Changes to impound requirements will be listed in HSSO’s clarifications.

When should devices be removed from impound?

Once a device has been impounded, it may not be removed until team members are told to do so by the Event Supervisor. Once teams arrive at the competition area and check-in with the Event Supervisor, the Event Supervisor will notify team members when they should remove their device from impound. The Event Supervisor will then conduct a formal construction check in the presence of the team members.

May I photograph a competitor’s device?

No, unless you receive specific permission to do so. You must be certain to avoid ever taking pictures of other team’s devices.