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Science Olympiad is one of the largest school-based team STEM competitions in the nation, with 7,600 teams in all 50 states competing in 400 one-day tournaments on college campuses. Science Olympiad competitions are like academic track meets, consisting of a series of 23 team events in each division (Division B is middle school; Division C is high school). Each year, a portion of the events are rotated to reflect the ever-changing nature of genetics, earth science, chemistry, anatomy, physics, geology, mechanical engineering, robotics and coding. By combining events from all disciplines, Science Olympiad encourages a wide cross-section of students to get involved. Emphasis is placed on active, hands-on group participation. Through Science Olympiad, students, teachers, parents, STEM mentors and industry experts bond together and work toward a shared goal.
Getting a Science Olympiad team going in your school is easy! (Check out your individual state (http://www.soinc.org/state_websites) Science Olympiad web site for Registration information.)
First, find some like-minded students willing to flex their academic muscles and form a group. Ask a science, math, tech or computing or CTE teacher in your school to coach the team. See if the principal or your school district has funding for a science extracurricular activity. Get a few parents to help out with scheduling, rides to the library or contacting experts. That's pretty much it! Now you just have to study for 23 of the most challenging events covering all the science you've ever and never learned.
Science Olympiad teams form at the beginning of the school year (August or September) and meet weekly, monthly or more frequently depending on the competitiveness of the team. Invitational (practice) Science Olympiad Tournaments begin in December/January, with qualifying Regional and State Science Olympiad Tournaments occurring in the spring, leading up to the Science Olympiad National Tournament in May. Students report weekly commitments of between 1-10 hours of study/practice, and each tournament is usually held on a Saturday.
Since 1985, Science Olympiad has required that all teams (up to 15 members) competing in any Science Olympiad tournament (Invitational, Regional, State or National) be a member of Science Olympiad and pay the national fee (currently $60) plus a one-time state fee (varies between $100-$300). This enables the team to participate in the program from September to May.
Currently, there are three Science Olympiad Divisions: Division A (Grades K-6) Division B (Grades 6-9) Division C (Grades 9-12). Equal numbers of boys and girls normally make up teams across the US. Up to 15 members can be on each team.
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Outcome of the Activity:
All Science Olympiad events are aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and support the in-class curriculum practiced by teachers and students alike. Using the knowledge gained in the regular classroom as a springboard, Science Olympiad students choose their events in subject areas where they want to go deeper and extend their learning, which can help sharpen a focus for a college major or career in STEM. Besides developing educational benefits, Science Olympiad also reinforces social and emotional skills of leadership, teamwork, collaboration and grit.
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