The Science Olympiad is a national, non-profit organization designed to promote scientific literacy among all students, a goal shared by education, business, industry and government. Science Olympiad competitions brings out the talents, resourcefulness and skills of the top young scientific minds in the state to apply the principles of biology, chemistry, physics, earth sciences, problem-solving and technology to the events they compete in. Competitors may do everything from constructing a tower to applying the principles and practices of epidemiology, including the scientific method of inquiry and basic biostatistics, to a disease outbreak investigation.

Visit these important websites to learn more about the Science Olympiad program:
http://soinc.org/
http://www.gvsu.edu/mso-r12/
http://www.mi-so.org/

What to expect
Students master one or more of 23 Events. The events come from all areas of science and are categorized to three types: Builds, Labs, and Tests. Labs and Tests are what are referred to as "Academic Test Events." Example below.

Competition Team
Students can increase their chances to earn a spot on the competition team by becoming expert in one or more Academic Test Events. We will attend three Invitational Events where most of the team members have opportunity to compete. At the Regional Competition, the competition team is limited to 15 participants. Those 15 participants will compete in at least two and up to five events (each of the 23 events has at least two participants, 46 spots covered by 15 people, account for conflicts, and on average each member needs to take 3). Alternates are an integral part of the team's success and can be enormously helpful in a number of ways.

What can parents do to help?
Parents can help in a number of ways, they do not have to have any special knowledge. A big help is simply helping students to manage their time to work on their events. Create opportunities to meet together with their event partners to work on events outside of regular school hours can make it fun and productive. In construction events, parents can simply read through the rules and make sure their child can show how each part of their device meets the regulations listed in the rules (proper dimensions, allowed materials, etc). Make sure your student is able to acquire necessary supplies. For test events, making sure their student is preparing for the event appropriately. If a binder of handwritten notes is allowed, the student should not be preparing typed sheets. Again, helping the student to read through the rules for understanding is key. Parents can also volunteer their time supervising after school meetings, providing snacks, etc. Most students only need a push in the right direction or a way to connect to the proper resources, be it a library, internet, or a member of the community with specialized knowledge.

At competition, especially GVSU Regional and MSU State, it is important to be sure our students are able to get to their events (i.e., find the room on a big campus). Alternates and parents can help competitiors to successfully navigate campus and manage required resources (did you get your goggles!?). Often, students will have several events back to back and could use help to manage their day.

Event Coaching
Ideally, each event would have an adult coach willing to work with a small sub-team of 2 - 5 students to learn and master their event. Consider learning an event with your student and a partner. We will hold general meetings where students can self-study events, but It is ideal for each event to meet separately to focus on learning their event. Builds and labs are best approached scientifically, with multiple iterations and trials to develop mastery.

Builds
To be successful, builds start early and refine and modify throughout the season. Meeting space with tools and supplies to accomplish and test these build events is key. For performance devices, such as gliders or vehicles, practice runs are critical. Typical build events include: helicopters, gliders, bottle rocket, electric vehicle, robot arm, balsa construction. See the National Science Olympiad site for event descriptions.

What is an "Academic Test" Event?
2011-2012 Events
Academic Test
Anatomy (Respiratory, Digestive)
Academic Test and Lab
Awesome Aquifers
Build
Bottle Rocket
Academic Test
Compute This
Academic Test and Lab
Crime Busters
Academic Test
Disease Detectives (Food Borne Illness)
Academic Test
Dynamic Planet (Earth's Fresh Waters)
Other
Experimental Design
Academic Test and Lab
Food Science
Academic Test
Forestry
Academic Test and Lab
Keep the Heat
Academic Test
Meteorology (Severe Storms)
Academic Test ?lab
Microbe Mission
Build
Mission Possible
Build
Mousetrap Vehicle
Academic Test and Lab
Optics
Academic Test
Reach for the Stars
Academic Test
Road Scholar
Academic Test
Rocks and Minerals
Build
Storm the Castle
Build
Towers
Academic Test and Lab
Water Quality
Other
Write It Do It

Funding
As with any sport, your student will need supplies and resources to successfully compete. A binder to store notes and materials to study, access to a computer to research, printer are minimum. Field guides and test equipment might be required for your event. For labs and builds, more supplies are needed. The scientific method, especially builds, can be a process of trial and error, with many iterations before mastery is achieved. Supplies to do that are necessary. Our tools and supplies are limited.

If someone is willing to act as treasurer, we can collect monies to help defray some of these costs for supplies and tools. Building our program with sponsors and fundraisers are both welcome. This club is affiliated with the school and we do receive some support, but it's up to all of us to make it great. Again, if someone is willing to take that on, that would be great.