Structure of Elementary Science Olympiad



Team Structure


Teams can be comprised of up to 12 students, with the oldest grade for ESO being 5th grade. Sixth graders can only be on the middle school team. A school can have as many teams as they would like, but they need to have separate registration fees and a separate coach for each team.


Number of events


There are 13 events that rotate from year to year. We generally rotate out 1-2 events and make major modifications to 2-3 events. This keeps the events fresh from year to year.


A team of 12 students will compete in the 13 events. Each event requires that 2 or more students work together on the event. Building events are built ahead of time and brought to the competition and tested. Research events require some level of advance preparation to organize notes or a research folder. Lab events require students to solve a problem onsite based on the rules criteria.


For lab and research based events, students will be given one lab or test booklet on which they work together to solve the problems. They are permitted to rip it apart and work separately or work together collaboratively.


Preparing for the Competition


The best preparations start early. Teams that prepare continually and slowly over a longer period of time see the best results - and more time preparing for Science Olympiad will result in much higher test scores on the state assessments.


Schools and teams prepare their team formation in many ways:

  • Conduct multiple mini competitions of the individual events to determine who scores highest and place those students on teh team.

  • Create multiple teams based on the number of students who want to compete.

  • Create tiered teams, with an "A" team made of the most motivated and engaged students.

  • Allow any student to be on the team.

Parents can help with the events and preparing the students and at some schools a parent will take the lead on preparing the students on one to two events.


More Questions?


We have an extensive list of common questions here that will help you with preparations for your team.



Parent Involvement


Parents are a critical part of a child's educational process. The parents should be involved, but there is a difference between involvement and taking over and doing the event. Students should be allowed to prepare their events by experimenting through trial and error. Failure is an option!


With the help of parents, students should work on the building events. We find that when the parents DO and BUILD the events for the students, they are not as prepared for the competition and often do poorly during the competition.


Its important to communicate to parents that they should be helpful and involved with the preparations but not cross the line and do the event for their child.


Rules and Scoring


The rules can be quite complex and its important to remember that the spirit of Science Olympiad is to improve the quality of science education. The rules are designed to challenge the students. When something is not clear, feel free to contact us.


However, be prepared that we write the rules so that students can not achieve a 100% on a lab or test event. If there were multiple ties at 100% it would be impossible to rank students from first to last place.


We also don't tell the teams exactly what will occur on the test. In a classroom, we want to measure if a student has learned a specific concept. In a Science Olympiad competition, the goal is to challenge and push the students to learn science and not to assess a specific concept for mastery. We want them to integrate concepts and solve problems and often there are multiple ways to solve a problem without a single perfect way to achieve the goal.


Quick Checklist to Get Your Team Started

  • Announce at school that you are looking for team members for Science Olympiad

  • Show them a video to explain Science Olympiad

  • Form a Team

  • Register Your Team with Us

  • Read over the rules with your team

  • Schedule which students will do each event.

  • Have students prepare for the event

  • Practice, practice, practice

  • Download the forms and have principal sign off on your team.

  • Arrange for transportation and chaperones

  • Bring along supplies and items for a campsite at the competition.

  • Attend the competition!

  • Celebrate successes!

  • Start organizing for next year!