Frequently Asked Questions

Please review the  Official Rules Clarifications in addition to the FAQsOfficial Rules Clarifications are made to clarify or correct the rules printed in the Rules Manuals. FAQs are replies to commonly asked questions.The Official Rules Clarifications and FAQs apply to all states and all tournaments and originate at the national level (please check your regional or state website for additional information). If you need copies of the official rules, that can only be found in the Rules Manuals, see your coach or go to the Science Olympiad Store

To see posted FAQs or to Submit a Question for a Rules Clarification, please select one of the events below or to search for a key word use the "search box" (HINT: to see all FAQ responses: use the "Printer-Friendly Version" Button). To see if a similar questions to yours has been asked, click on the Reveal Questions button. For Trial event questions, please submit them under the Reveal Questions button at the very end under Trial Events.

The Submit a Question form is to be used to ask questions about a specific section and paragraph number in the event rule that might be unclear, not to be a help or answer desk. Only specific clarifying questions will receive replies. They will be posted if they are not a repetition of what is already stated in the rules. Concerning specificity about what is allowed please read the Code of Ethics and General Rules. For general info about team size and an overview of Science Olympiad, see Background under About SO.

Questions that will not receive a reply: those that are already answered and posted, what materials to use, how to build a device, if a device complies to the rules, what will be covered on a test, how to coach the event. These questions should go to your Coach or see the links under EVENT INFO.

General tournament, facilities or site-specific questions should go to your State Director.

Division B Events

Division C Events

General Questions

Coaching/Team Requirements

Trial Events

Division B Events

Questions must be directed toward the rules. We cannot pre-judge your device by answering questions on whether it complies.

Earth/Space Science

Dynamic Planet - Div B

Rocks and Minerals - Div B

Meteorology

(section: 2 / line: 1)

2014-03-10 02:44 Is each team permitted one page of notes or is each student allowed a page of notes?

This year's rules state that each student may bring one non-programmable calculator AND one 8.5" x 11" two-sided page of notes. This means that per team they may have 2 calculators and 2 pages of notes. Each student's notes may be different from their partner's notes.

Road Scholar

Solar System

Inquiry/Nature

Metric Mastery

(section: 3 / sub-paragraph: ii / line: 2)

2013-11-04 01:50 The "plus one estimated digit" rule only applies to analog equipment, not to digital, right? Students should not be estimating digits on a digital scale, digital thermometer, etc. Correct?

Correct. You can not estimate a digit on digital measuring devices.

(section: 3 / paragraph: c / sub-paragraph: iii / line: 1)

2014-01-07 01:30 Can we use scientific notation in our answer?

Yes, proper scientific notation will be an acceptable format for an answer in the Metric Mastery event.

(section: 4 / paragraph: b / sub-paragraph: i / line: 2)

2014-01-07 01:45 Does the "plus one estimated digit" rule apply to a vernier caliper? One of markings on the vernier scale is supposed to be exactly “aligned" with a marking on the main scale which will gives the exact reading.

No, you are correct. On a vernier caliper there would not be an estimated digit.

Rotor Egg Drop

(section: 1 / line: 3)

2014-02-28 16:45 Are feathers allowed as an attachment to a homemade wing or blade?

Yes

(section: 3 / paragraph: a / line: 1)

2014-02-28 16:47 In the sentence, "The device must use wings or blades that rotate around a central axis to slow the descent of the egg", does the "axis" have to be a physical axis (like an axle) or can it be conceptual axis (like the earth's axis)?

Either conceptual or actual is acceptable.

(section: 3 / paragraph: e / line: 1)

2013-12-19 13:54 Does the statement at the device must fit inside a 51cm cube in any orientation mean that the device must be able to rotate in all directions inside the cube? I don't understand the intent of the "any orientation" phase.

The entire device (with the cup), in both launch and flying configuration, must fit into a 51 cm cube in any orientation the student chooses. The entire device does not have to rotate in the 51 cm cube when it is being measured it just has to fit within the cube.

2014-02-28 17:12 Must the device be able to fit in the cube in any orientation the judge chooses? "Any orientation" could mean if it can be fit, it passes or that all orientations must fit.

Students will be the ones who choose the orientation of their device in the cube and place it in the cube for verification. Students must be the only ones to touch their device. As long as it fits into the allowed dimensions of the cube,in flying configuration which means with the cup attached, then it passes.

(section: Event / line: 1)

2014-02-28 16:56 Does the rotor have to revolve around a central axis a minimum of onerevolution? How is revolution defined (approximately onecomplete turn to be determined by event supervisor?)

The rotor should rotate at least once around a central axis or it could be determined to be a parachute or glider. It will be up to the event supervisor to determine whether the device has rotated around the central axis.

2014-02-28 17:05 If the students' rotor design does not encourage parts other than the cup to hit first, will the students be tiered if the cup is not what hits first due to causes out of their control such as air drafts/currents?

Students will be placed in Tier 3 or 4 if the cup does not hit first. Construction 3.d. "No other shock absorbing or cushioning materials can be used..." If another part of the device hits first it would act as a shock absorbing material.

Experimental Design - Div B

Write It Do It - Div B

(section: 2 / paragraph: b / line: 11)

2014-03-09 20:13 Are abbreviations allowed to be concatenated? For example, if one has defined N = north, and E = east, is NE -> northeast valid, or will it be penalized?

Yes, this is allowed as long as each part is correctly defined.

(section: 2 / paragraph: b / line: 3)

2014-03-10 01:11 It is stated that any single letters or words may be used. However, do those words have to be in English. Specifically, are students allowed to use letter combinations that correspond to chinese characters (pinyin)?

The standard English keyboard is identified for use with all Science Olympiad tournaments. However, each tournament may - at their discretion and announcement to competing teams - provide additional or alternate languages that may be used. If the PC standard 101 keyboard is able to make Chinese characters, this would only be acceptable if the event supervisor has identified non-English language may be used. For nationals, English is the identified language. Using keyboard symbols to create non-English words will not be acceptable.

(section: 2 / paragraph: b / line: 7)

2014-03-10 01:03 In Write it Do it, it says you can use any symbols on the PC standard 101 key keyboard. On that keyboard there is an "and" symbol, can the and symbol I make look different than the one on the keyboard, or does it have to be the same?

As long as what is written is readily apparent it refers to the "and" symbol and not something else, it would be accepted. Keep in mind that the "+" is not the same as the "and" symbol.

(section: 3 / paragraph: d / line: 1-3)

2014-03-10 01:07 Will a penalty be assessed for abbreviated fractions (e.g., 1/2 for "one-half")?

No, fractions may be referenced as 1/2 or 3/4 etc.

Life/Personal/Social Science

Heredity

Disease Detectives - Div B

Anatomy

(section: 3 / paragraph: b / sub-paragraph: vi. / line: 1)

2013-12-19 14:09 Are the diseases restricted to the ones listed in the parentheses, or are those simply the most important ones?

Diseases are restricted to the ones listed in the rules.

Water Quality - Div B

(section: 3 / paragraph: c / line: 6)

2014-03-09 19:33 In the construction of the salinometer/hydrometer, would the use of a multimeter (not built by the team) in checking the electrical conductivity of a circuit (built by the team) during competition be legal?

Yes, it is okay to use a purchased multimeter as part of the device the students build provided that none of the components were manufactured to measure water quality/chemistry. They need to be able to explain how they built it.

Entomology - Div B

(section: 2 / line: 2-3)

2014-03-25 15:44 Can pictures be added to the field guide? They would be glued in next to each organism that is listed in the guide.

No. Pictures, notes, drawings are not allowed to be glued into the field guide. Students may write or draw in their field guides but may not insert anything in addition to the pages and allowed tabs.

(section: 2 / paragraph: 1 / sub-paragraph: 1 / line: 1)

2014-03-10 01:27 Does "annotation" indicate that a student may write in the margins of their commercially published reference?

Yes

(section: 2 / paragraph: 1 / sub-paragraph: 1 / line: 3)

2014-03-27 19:39 Does "annotated" with reference to the commercially published resource include covering pages of the book with other printed sources of information?

No, you may not cover pages of the book with other printed sources of information.

2014-04-23 01:42 Does "annotated" with reference to the commercially published resource include covering pages of the book with other printed sources of information?

No, covering pages of the resource book with other printed sources of information is not allowed.

Physical Science/Chemistry

Chemistry

Can't Judge a Powder

(section: 2 / paragraph: a / sub-paragraph: i / line: 1,2)

2014-03-09 02:23 Are students allowed to bring graduated cylinders?

No, graduated cylinders are not on the list of items that students may bring.

(section: 2 / paragraph: a / sub-paragraph: v / line: 1)

2013-12-23 03:16 Are graduated beral pipettes permissable?

Yes - Beral pipettes are permitted for Can't Judge a Powder, whether graduated or not.

(section: 2 / paragraph: a / sub-paragraph: vi / line: 1)

2013-11-06 16:43 Can the 9-v conductivity meter be commercial product, or does it have to be home-made?

As long as the conductivity meter is operated by a 9 volt battery, it is allowed.

2014-01-01 20:10 Is the 9-volt Conductivity tester to be assumed as "not to exceed," or only 9-volt allowed?

The rules say that students may only bring specified items. Teams may bring only 9-volt conductivity testers, per General Rules in the manual.

(section: 2 / paragraph: c / line: 5)

2014-01-01 20:12 The rules say, "Chemical gloves are optional, but recommended." Specifically, what are "chemical gloves"

Chemical gloves are safety gloves worn when working with potential dangerous chemicals. They usually take a while to degrade, are not easily permeable, and are strong. Most are made of Neoprene, nitrile, PVC, PVA (We should not use these), and latex.

(section: 3 / line: 1)

2013-11-06 16:44 how many grams of the sample are given to the students? If they run out, can they ask for more without penalty?

It will be up to the Event Supervisors. The Event Supervisors may notify the students at the beginning of the competition if refills will be allowed or not, students may ask the Event Supervisor.  Since materials vary widely in density, there is no minimum or maximum number of grams Event Supervisors are to provide to the students.

(section: 3 / paragraph: d / line: 5)

2014-01-01 20:32 Rule 3d states not to say endothermic or exothermic, a web guide gives 5pts for: "...0.2 grams of the powder was dissolved in 3 ml of DI the temperature decreased from 23.3C to 21.8C thus inferring that dissolving the powder in water is endothermic."

When in doubt, read the Rules Manual. Students should not write inferences. They should only write observations. When answering questions, they should write the number(s) of the observation(s) that would be used to answer the question. Examples with inferences in them should not be listed. There is no place in the rules manual that says how to punish a team that writes an unneeded inference. However, if a team writes an unsupported inference and lists that inference to answer a question, it would receive a maximum of 2 points.

Crime Busters

(section: 2 / paragraph: a / sub-paragraph: xv / line: 1)

2014-03-10 01:42 The rules state "Each student may bring one 8.5" by 11" two-sided page of notes..." do these notes need to be the same, or may each student bring a different set of notes?

No, the notes do not need to be the same, each student's notes may be different.

(section: 2 / paragraph: c / line: 5)

2014-01-01 20:12 The rules say, "Chemical gloves are optional, but recommended." Specifically, what are "chemical gloves"

Chemical gloves are safety gloves worn when working with potential dangerous chemicals. They usually take a while to degrade, are not easily permeable, and are strong. Most are made of Neoprene, nitrile, PVC, PVA (We should not use these), and latex.

Physics

Shock Value

Simple Machines

(section: 2 / paragraph: b / line: 1)

2013-11-06 16:42 Can a computer be used as a tool for the device testing portion of the event?

No. Computers/tablets/etc generally aren't allowed in Science Olympiad events unless explicitly permitted in the specific event rules, since they can potentially violate multiple general rules.

(section: 2 / paragraph: c / line: 1)

2013-11-06 17:01 Do students need to impound their reference material secured in a 3-ring binder?

No, only the device, tools, and supplies must be impounded. Reference materials, writing utensils, and calculators do not need to be impounded.

(section: 2 / paragraph: c / line: 2)

2014-03-09 16:32 How should teams who fail to impound their device be scored?

That is up to the individual event supervisor. It's recommended that they get a MS and TS of 0 for not making an honest attempt.

(section: 2 / paragraph: e / line: 1-2)

2014-01-02 03:12 Do students have to hang the masses from the lever, or are they allowed to set the masses on top of the lever?

General rule #2 applies, they can do either.

(section: 2 / paragraph: f / line: 3)

2014-03-09 20:35 Can the device include a mass" that is used to achieve static equilibrium befor the test masses are added?

Any masses used in this manner must be fixed in place before impound.

(section: 2 / paragraph: f / sub-paragraph: none / line: 1)

2014-03-09 16:37 Does the mass range of 50.0 grams - 1200.0 grams define both the provided/known masses and the unknown masses?

Yes, the mass ranges apply to both Known and Unknown Masses per rule 2.f.

(section: 4 / paragraph: a / sub-paragraph: iii / line: 5)

2013-11-01 01:21 Under the catagory of "Wheel& Axle", are "Belt & Pulleys" included?

Yes, Belt and Pulley sare included as part of the Pulley simple machine type for both Simple Machines and Complex Machines.

(section: 4 / paragraph: a / sub-paragraph: iii. / line: 1)

2014-01-02 03:23 If "Questions are limited to the following static equilibrium simple machines" only, will there be questions on objects that are moving or calculations of things like "kinetic energy" as the rule mentions?

No, This does not apply to Div. B, Simple Machines.

(section: 4 / paragraph: a / sub-paragraph: iii5 / line: 5)

2013-11-01 01:23 Under the catagory of "Wheel & Axle", are "Gear Systems" included?

Yes

(section: 4 / paragraph: b / line: 1)

2014-01-02 03:24 Is there a standardized way that the masses are intended to be attached to the levers?

No, teams can utilize the flexible loops on the masses to hang them, or they can set the entire mass on their own hanger of some sort.

(section: 4 / paragraph: b / sub-paragraph: i / line: 1)

2013-11-06 17:17 Regarding the phrase "using an known mass and lever", are these simply the tools available to the competitor that are allowed to be used, or are the students REQUIRED to utilize the known mass to determine the unknown mass?

Yes, the rules state that students are to use both the known mass and a lever to determine an unknown mass.

(section: 4 / paragraph: b / sub-paragraph: v / line: 1)

2014-03-09 16:50 Can the hangers that the masses are hung from, be movable? For example, can the loops of the given masses, be attached to movable ringed hooks that the students slide along the two arms of their weighing device?

Yes, as long as the hooks are only used for attachment and the entire device only uses the Law of the Lever for calculating the unknown mass. General rule #2 applies: http://www.soinc.org/ethics_rules

(section: 4 / paragraph: b / sub-paragraph: v / line: 3)

2014-01-02 03:25 Can the tools include a spring scale attached to the device (levers)?

No, a spring scale would not be within the spirit of the problem and would violate general rule #2, in addition to not abiding by rule 4.b.v. regarding using only the principles of a lever to calculate the mass.

(section: 5 / paragraph: b / line: 1)

2013-11-06 17:21 Are points to be assigned as whole points only? Rounded or truncated? For example, if the measurement takes 15 seconds, is the TS value assigned as 18 points, 18.75 points, or 19 points?

Points will be assigned to the significant figures of the measuring equipment available to the supervisors. Contact local tournaments for information to the precision of their tools.

(section: 5 / paragraph: c / line: 1)

2013-11-06 17:23 Is the Mass Score in whole points, rounded or not, or in decimal? For example, if the actual mass of the unknown was 1000g, and the calculated value was 990g, is the scored MS value assigned 29 points, 29.7 points, or 30 points?

The mass score will be decimal, based on the precision of the measurement tools used by the Event Supervisor.

Sounds of Music

(section: 1 / line: 1)

2014-01-23 03:22 May two students on the same team build the same type of instrument - say, both strings - if one instrument does treble and the other does bass?

No. The instruments must be 2 different types.

2014-01-23 03:24 With regards to the instrument-specific test, should a plosive aerophone be classified as a percussion instrument or a wind instrument?

It is a wind instrument per Hornbostel–Sachs.

(section: 1 / paragraph: 1 / sub-paragraph: 1 / line: 2)

2014-03-09 21:01 What type of instrument is a hammered dulcimer (precursor to the piano), string or percussion?

It's a chordophone instrument per Hornbostel–Sachs.

(section: 2 / line: None)

2014-01-23 03:25 Is it possible to use pre-made cane such as cane that is gouged, profiled, and shaped. I would use this cane to construct a reed by hand.

No. That is a reed block.

(section: 3 / paragraph: b / line: 2)

2014-01-23 15:31 Regarding use of rosin, is powdered rosin used in gymnastics, baseball, bowling acceptable?

Yes, it is not a commercially available music item.

(section: 4 / paragraph: d / sub-paragraph: ii / line: 1,2)

2014-03-09 20:05 Are questions about playing specific musical instruments within the scope of this science competition? For example: "What is a technique of the left hand and arm in which the pitch of a note varies in a pulsating rhythm?"

No. Rule 4.d.i clearly states questions are on general acoustic knowledge and the types of instruments brought by the competitors. Musical technique questions are are out of the realm of the rules UNLESS they are referring to WHY a technique makes that sound (i.e. how does the speed of the bow/air affect the sound - bowing/blowing faster is louder, why does vibrato change the sound).

Technology

Wheeled Vehicle

(section: 3 / paragraph: 1 / sub-paragraph: n/a / line: 1)

2014-01-16 20:20 Does the "non-metallic, elastic material" (possibly a rubber band) mentioned in Section 1 qualify as a "drive string"?

Yes, if the elastic material is wrapped around the axle it becomes the 'drive string' and would not incur a penalty if it comes free and touches the floor.

(section: 3 / paragraph: a / line: 1)

2014-01-16 20:26 3.a. states using a "single integral device" .... Does that rule out a system combining two energy sources, such as using rubber bands along with a fishing pole system?

A single integral device (a single vehicle) could include a device which has two or more separate sections/energy sources even if they are dissimilar such as rubber bands and a fishing pole as they are complimenting each other to achieve a goal of greatest speed.

(section: 3 / paragraph: b / line: 1)

2014-01-16 20:36 How many non-metallic elastic devices can I have to power the vehicle?

There is no limit as long as they all meet the "non-metallic, elastic" rule.

2014-01-16 20:37 If a fishing pole is used as the elastic device, do the metal ferules violate the non-metalic rule?

No, as long as the metal ferrules don't provide any energy to propel the vehicle, it is okay.

(section: 3 / paragraph: e / line: 1)

2013-12-19 15:38 Can the attachment of the dowel to the vehicle encircle the dowel? Technically, the dowel itself would not then be the "Foremost part of the vehicle", the attachment mechanism would be.

The vehicle may have a device to attach the dowel to the vehicle and permit the removal of the dowel for transportation and/or any necessary adjustment. This device must not extend more than 2 cm from the front of the dowel and would then become the foremost part of the vehicle. This attachment device must serve no purpose other than to attach and hold the dowel on the vehicle.

(section: 3 / paragraph: f / line: 1)

2014-03-10 02:11 Does a 1/4" x 1/4" piece of balsa qualify as a 'dowel'?

No, a dowel by definition is a solid cylindrical rod.

(section: 3e / line: 1)

2014-01-16 20:39 The 1/4" wooden dowel that must be attached to the front end of the vehicle, can it be a square dowel or must it be a round dowel?

By definition, a dowel is a cylindrical rod.

(section: 6 / paragraph: c / line: 1)

2014-01-16 20:59 What happens if a vehicle goes beyond the target distance? Would I still take a distance score but placed the team score in Tier 2 as a competition violation?

The vehicle may go past the the Target Line without penalty. If the vehicle goes past the Target Line the Distance Score is still the distance from the Measurement Point on the vehicle to the Target Line to the nearest 0.1 cm. It is a point (Measurement Point on the vehicle) to line (Target Line) measurement.

(section: 6 / paragraph: d / line: 2)

2014-01-16 20:43 If the center line tape disappears under the wheel of the vehicle but is not visible on the outside of the wheel, is that a reason for losing the Center Line Bonus?

No, if the center tape remains completely within the vehicle's track, i.e. the Center Tape is not visible outside of either wheel of the vehicle's widest axle the Center Line Bonus will be awarded.

Robo-Cross

(section: 2 / line: b)

2014-03-14 01:06 Can you use a laptop during competition?

Yes, this is covered in the remote control of devices spreadsheet linked from the event homepage and as referred to in para 2.h of the rules. The voltage of any batteries on the laptop must be verifiable to be within permissible limits. And of course, use of a laptop must not allow the competitors to get outside help for the event

(section: 2 / paragraph: a / line: 1)

2013-12-23 02:16 Can more than one team drive the same Robot?

No, as stated in the description para 1 the task is to design and build a robot to accomplish a task, not just to accomplish a task. General rule #7 applies in that current team members must have constructed all pre-built devices. Note competitive robots can be made rather cheaply and do NOT require expensive parts. Successful teams have built systems using all new parts for ~$50.

(section: 2 / paragraph: b / line: 1)

2013-12-20 17:38 May a LEGO Mindstorm NTX be controlled by a device using an app to control movement such as an iPad, iPhone, or iPod. Would the device be considered to be remotely controlling the robot through radio waves?

Yes, as long as the device uses one of the frequencies allowed in the rules as outlined on the NSO website, that would comply with the remote control through radio waves. However, be careful of the device used, it must not allow control or aid from sources outside the competitors.

(section: 2 / paragraph: B / line: 1)

2013-12-23 02:22 Can we use Bluetooth as a remote control?

Yes, Bluetooth, among other standards, is explicitly allowed in the general rules on radiof frequencies referenced in the printed rules. The general rules are accessible from the Robo-Cross event page at: http://www.soinc.org/sites/default/files/uploaded_files/Remotecontrolgeneralrules.pdf

(section: 2 / paragraph: b / line: 1)

2014-03-27 15:58 Is a helicopter or other flying device a legal robot in this competition? In other words is it within the rules for a robot to be able to fly over the playing surface?

Yes, nothing in the rules says flying devices are not legal. This is all provided the robot is safe, still fits with a 30cm cube, and follows other associated rules.

(section: 2 / paragraph: c / line: 1)

2014-01-06 03:21 If a commercial kit is used what would qualify as a funtional modification?

As per rule 2.c, commercial kits may be used, but must have at least one functional modification. A functional modification is already defined within the rule as the lack of a modification causing the robot to either not work or working differently. This means either a robot pulled out of a box or a kit built that exclusively follows a manufacturer's directions would not be legal for competition. A team is, however, allowed to start with the raw kit/device, run tests on the device, and make modifications prior to competition. Competitors are, in fact, expected to do so prior to the competition as there is no complete device designed for Science Olympiad Robo-Cross that is commercially available.

(section: 2 / paragraph: d / line: 9)

2014-03-27 16:01 It says that the robot in the ready to run position must fit inside a 30 x 30 x 30 cm square. Does the robot have to be turned on while it is being measured?

Yes, ready to run means it is prepared for competition and can begin immediately after being measured without intervention from the competitors.

(section: 2 / paragraph: e / line: 4)

2014-03-27 16:08 Does the passive device need to start in the claw of the robot at the beginning of the competition or can it be placed in the robot starting box and picked up later in the competition?

No, it does not need to start in the claw. It does need to fit in the 30 cm box with the rest of the robot. The passive device will be considered part of the robot and scored as such if it is left in a different Zone than the Robot at the end of the competition. See Rule 6.a.v.

(section: 2. / paragraph: b. / line: 1)

2013-12-23 02:32 The sentence says the Robot "May be controlled remotely by radio, infrared, or wired control Boxes to the robot". LEGO MINDSTORMS Robots are programmed and not remotely controlled. Would this type of robot be acceptable?

Yes. Programmable controllers on the robot or in a remote box are allowed. But if the robot is touched after the Event Supervisor says "1, 2, 3, go" the time will stop per rule 5.f.iv.

(section: 3 / paragraph: 1 / sub-paragraph: 1 / line: 2)

2014-03-27 19:32 Technical Documentation examples are now posted on the website under Div. B - Robo Cross.

Examples of the technical documentation are now on the website under Div. B - Robo Cross. Illustrations may be in any form - photos, hand drawings, etc. Documentation must be clear and legible.

(section: 4 / paragraph: j / line: 1)

2013-12-20 17:55 Please provide the geometry of the bonus jug. For example, is the cross section circular (bleach bottle) or rounded square (milk jug) and is the connection between the bottom of the jug and the wall rounded.

The bonus jug will be a plastic milk or juice jug provided by the local event supervisor and will be what is available locally. It is recommended to use a jug that is squared on the bottom and has 4 sides, not a rounded jug. If there are more than one playing fields are a competition, the jugs must be identical.

(section: 4 / paragraph: j / line: 2)

2014-03-14 01:40 Will the handle on the bonus jug be placed facing up, facing down, or will competitors be allowed to choose?

The position of the handle on the bonus jug (if there is a handle) will be up to the event supervisor. All teams will have the jug placed in the same position and orientation.

(section: 5 / paragraph: c,e / line: 1,1)

2014-01-06 03:24 The rules state that the robot may move the bonus jug and robot parts may end up in or on the Bonus Jug. Can the Bonus Jug be ON the robot itself within the scoring zones and be scored according to the zone the robot is in?

Yes.

(section: 5 / paragraph: f / line: 1)

2014-03-27 16:13 If the objects are inside of the jug, but still attached to the the robot, will they count for points?

Yes. The key language in rules 6.b.ii and 6.b.iii is: "...in or fully supported by the Bonus Jug..."

(section: 5 / paragraph: f / sub-paragraph: iii / line: 1)

2013-12-23 02:48 Are the wires that connect a controller to the robot considered "part of the robot" with regard to this rule? If the wires are long enough that they touch the ground outside of the playing field, are they considered out of play, stopping the run?

No, the wires from the controller are part of the controller. No part of the rule requires time stop for the controller touching the ground.

(section: 6 / paragraph: b / sub-paragraph: ii,iii / line: 1)

2014-03-27 16:14 The robot carries a container and some items are picked up and stored in the container. If the container is dropped on top of the bonus jug that is facing up, are the items in the container considered fully supported by the jug and are awarded 3x ...

If the container is fully supported by the jug, yes, the objects in it are fully supported by the jug.

(section: 6 / paragraph: c / line: 1)

2013-12-20 20:22 Should the reference here be to Para 5, line 2, not 5.a., which does not require any identifications?

Yes, 6.c. should read: The score will be reduced one point for each incorrect identification in 5. line 1-2.

(section: Unknow / line: Unknow)

2013-12-23 02:49 May a cell phone be used as the remote control for the robot?

Yes. The general rules referenced in para 2.h at http://www.soinc.org/sites/default/files/uploaded_files/Remotecontrolgeneralrules.pdf specifically allow smartphones. However, be aware, some tournaments may have rules against cell phone use by competitors, I suggest you clear such use tournament by tournament.

Boomilever - Div B

(section: 3 / paragraph: a / line: 1)

2014-01-23 15:55 3a says that the Boolilever must be attached to the mounting hook(s). If the attachment base on the boomilever has no hole but rests against the mounting hook does that count as "attached"?

Yes, the boomilever may rest against the mounting hook.

(section: 3 / paragraph: d / line: 1)

2013-11-30 07:48 Is it 5 cm below Contact depth of actual Boomilever being tested, or 5 cm from Contact Depth line?

Please refer to the posted Rules Clarification.

2013-11-30 07:55 Does rule 3d mean that the loading block must be at or above 5cm below the contact depth before start AND during loading? For example, can the loading block be at 25cm below the center line of the hook if the contact depth=20cm? Will this depth be...

The rule does not state that the loading block must be at of above 5cm below the contact depth during the loading. Testing will continue until failure of the Boomilever which is defined in 5.f.line 3.

(section: 3g,h / line: 1)

2014-01-23 15:36 Can we use dowel joints to connect/join wood pieces in addition to adhesive? i.e. the dowel pins are made of wood.

Dowels are allowed as long as they are made of wood and meet the requirements of rule 3.g.

(section: 5 / paragraph: i / line: 2-3)

2014-03-27 19:41 What is the correct usage of the stabilization sticks (i.e. door stop end bumper only, wood dowel end only, either wood dowel or door stop end, or does not matter)?

To correctly use the stabilization sticks, the door stop end bumper should be used to touch the bucket, not the wood dowel end.

(section: 5 / paragraph: j / line: all)

2014-01-23 15:52 Please explain "Failure." Should loading stop if a piece breaks off the structure? Rule 3.a. states that it must be a single structure.

Failure is defined specifically in rule 5.j. Rule 3.a. defines the construction parameters of the structure, not what happens to the structure during loading. Therefore, if a piece breaks off the structure during loading and the structure is still supporting the load, loading will continue until failure occurs as defined in 5.j.

Helicopters

(section: 3 / paragraph: E / line: 2)

2014-01-23 15:10 The rule says around a single vertical axis, but last year when my team was at state we saw a group with a tandem/chinook style helicopter. I was wondering if this is legal according to the 2914 rules, though I also see that it is still phrased th...

Chinook style helicopters are still legal under the 2014 rules, but will not receive any bonus. 3e defines a rotor as a blade or blades which rotate around a vertical axis. Each rotor may have it's own vertical axis.

(section: 3 / paragraph: e / line: 2)

2014-01-26 22:48 If two (or more) rotors share a common vertical axis (eg, attached to the same motor mast) but rotate on different horizontal planes, are the rotors considered separate rotors?

Rotors are defined in rule 3.e as one or more blades that rotate on a common path around a vertical axis. The rules do not include any requirements for the amount of vertical separation between blades necessary, so blades that are separated to an unlimited extent may still qualify as being part of the same assembly. One blade could be on the top of the helicopter or motorstick and another on the bottom, but still be connected in a single rotor assembly. The "path" referred to in rule 3.e does not indicate that every blade must occupy exactly the same volumetric space on each rotation. Instead, it means that when an assembly is rotated around an axis, each blade also processes around that axis. A key test of whether blades are part of the same rotor are to determine if they are rigidly connected to each other. If one blade cannot rotate independently of another blade, they are on the same rotor and constitute a multi bladed rotor. To test if a rotor is single bladed, the students should demonstrate that it can rotate independent of all other blades on the helicopter without damage to the helicopter.

(section: 3 / paragraph: f / line: 1)

2014-01-23 15:22 If the radius is 15 cm or less (which would equal a diameter of 30 cm) how does this relate to rule 3e - the maximum diameter is 25 cm.

The 15cm referred to in rule 3.f is an exception for single-bladed rotors only, as they have less lifting area and their swept diameter is extremely difficult to measure. Any rotor assembly with more than one blade must have a diameter less than 25cm. If a rotor only has a single blade, it must have a radius less than 15cm.

(section: 3 / paragraph: F / line: 1)

2014-02-24 22:52 Do single blades which pass the student demonstration of independent rotation but then function together as a multi bladed rotor during flight still qualify for Scoring Rule 5.a. time bonus, and would the blades be evaluated under Construction Rul...

No, the pre-inspection is not the only time in which a device must be within compliance of the rules. It must remain in compliance throughout testing. As such, if a Helicopter rotor design functions as a two-bladed rotor during flight, it will be judged as a two-bladed rotor. This means the 25 cm rotor diameter limit will apply and the 10% bonus will not.

(section: 3 / paragraph: f / line: 1-3)

2014-01-23 14:54 Would a two or three-bladed rotor count as a single-blade for the 10% bonus if only one of the blades is covered and the others are left uncovered (without mylar, etc)?

Yes, the other components referred to as "blades" above are not blades as they do not provide lift, they are counterweights. Only the covered surface counts as a blade and presuming all other requirements are met, will count as a single bladed rotor.

(section: 3 / paragraph: F / sub-paragraph: I / line: 3)

2014-01-23 15:28 If the helicopter blade consisting of a single surface has the axis of rotation in the middle of the surface, will it still be considered a single surface for the purpose of the bonus?

No, the axis of rotation in this situation divides the covered region into two separate lifting surfaces, meaning two separate blades.

(section: 4 / paragraph: I / line: 3)

2014-03-10 01:58 Is there a time after a helicopter gets hung up in a ceiling obstacle the judges should use before calling a halt to the time.

The rules do not mandate any amount of time for hang-ups to continue legal flight time. Whether the rotors are supporting the weight of the helicopter or not is the only factor determining whether a flight is over or not and this will be up to the judgement of the event supervisor at the individual tournament. We cannot comment on a specific scenarios or occurrences without having actually been physically present.

(section: 4 / paragraph: j / line: 2)

2014-02-24 22:59 How will judges determine that the rotors no longer support the weight of the helicopter?

This will be up to the judgement of the event supervisor. There are simply too many potential scenarios based on local conditions and individual behavior to predict every possibility.

(section: 5 / paragraph: a / line: 1)

2014-03-11 23:44 Could a single bladed rotor that is unpowered ( not powered by rubberband or anything else) qualify for the bonus?

No, as per rule 3.e, rotors must be the lifting surfaces. If a component is not powered, it is not providing lift. Para 3.f, last sentence: A blade is defined as a single surface designed to create lift force as it moves through the air. An unpowered blade is likely to be stationary, so it cannot provide lift.

Division C Events

Questions must be directed toward the rules. We cannot pre-judge your device by answering questions on whether it complies.

Earth/Space Science

Astronomy

(section: 2 / line: 1)

2014-02-27 17:11 Is it up to an event supervisor's or tournament director's discretion whether or not to allow the use of laptops as a resource at a regional competition?

No. Regional supervisors should follow the National rules, which explicitly state that laptops are allowed. Not doing so would give teams a disadvantage at future competitions. All competitions, whether regional or state, should follow as closely as possible the event description in the Event Rules manual. Event supervisors should discuss with the tournament director any deviation from the rules stated in the manual.

(section: 3 / paragraph: C / line: 4)

2013-10-31 20:34 What is exactly is "V1"?

This year's topic is stellar evolution and variable stars, and V1 is standard nomenclature for variables. V1 is a Cepheid variable star in the Andromeda Galaxy (M31). It is a very famous Cepheid as this was the star that Hubble observed and analyzed which showed that M31 was not a nebula but an entire galaxy and the universe became a much larger place. The Hubble observatory has made several observations of this variable and one link for information about V1 is http://www.spacetelescope.org/images/opo1115e/ or http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/hubble/science/star-v1.html

Dynamic Planet - Div C

Rocks and Minerals - Div C

GeoLogic Mapping

Inquiry/Nature

Experimental Design - Div C

Bungee Drop

(section: 2 / paragraph: a / line: 1)

2013-11-30 19:32 Can parts of the chord be non-elastic?

Yes.

(section: 2 / paragraph: a / line: 2)

2014-01-01 19:52 Is the 1 inch the inner diameter or the outer diameter? Are any key rings that are sold in a national recognized store that are labeled as 1" acceptable? A 1" key ring is more then 1" because of the thickness of the metal.

The measurement listed in the rules is approximately 1/2 to 1 inch to allow for measurements taken on the inner or outer diameter of the key ring. Yes, a key ring that is labeled as 1" is acceptable.

(section: 2 / paragraph: b / line: 1)

2013-12-23 02:55 Must the drop mass be a single mass or can it be made of multiple smaller masses such as BB's?

The drop mass, (within the bottle) may be made up of multiple smaller materials such as sand or BBs.

2013-12-23 02:57 The rules indicate that a mass of 50 - 300 g will be added to the bottle, but give no specifics about the mass of the bottle or it attachments. Is it intended this way or it meant that the bottle, the attachments and mass total 50 - 300 g?

The bottle, attachments and mass will total 50 - 300g.

(section: 2 / paragraph: b / line: 3)

2014-01-04 23:00 Please clarify what is meant by a "top anchoring system/extended platform with a release mechanism"

That is up to each individual event supervisor.

(section: 2 / paragraph: b / line: 4)

2013-12-23 03:00 It is said in this line that event supervisors will supply a top anchoring system to attach to the TOP END of the elastic cord. Does this mean that teams will be allowed to use only the full length of the cord for each drop?

No, teams can attach the anchoring system to any point on the cord. Since the top end is defined as anywhere the bungee cord is clamped/attached to the release device, each team in effect determines the top end by where along the cord they fasten the bungee to the release device.

(section: 3 / paragraph: a / line: 1)

2014-03-09 02:19 Will competitors be able to suspend the mass from their cord and measure the distance from floor to bottom of the mass during their prep and/or drop time?

No.

2014-03-09 02:21 Are test runs allowed during the 5 minute set up period? The rules do not explicitly state that test runs are not allowed.

No, test runs are not allowed.

(section: 3 / paragraph: b / line: 1)

2014-01-23 16:12 Can part of the cord be below the drop height before the drop? i.e. Does the cord and the entire bottle need to be above the drop height or does just the bottle need to be at the drop height when it is released?

Yes, part can be below. General rule #2 applies.

(section: 3 / paragraph: b / sub-paragraph: i / line: 1)

2014-01-23 16:09 Are the drop heights in 1 meter increments?

No

(section: 3 / paragraph: c / line: 1-3)

2014-02-06 14:00 3c States no physical alterations may be made to elastic cord once impounded except marking drop locations before drops, does this mean that students cannot shorten cord for different heights or masses or can they move bottom ring to proper locati...

They may 'shorten' it by way of changing how they attach it to the top anchoring system.

(section: 3 / paragraph: c / line: 6)

2014-02-06 13:55 Does the entire bottom meter of the cord have to be elastic or only enough to add an additional 25 cm to the bottom meter when stretched?

No, the bottom meter needs to have only enough elastic material to stretch the bottom meter to at least 1.25cm.

(section: 3 / paragraph: c / line: 7)

2013-12-23 03:11 For the elasticity test, will the "bottom meter measurement" include or exclude the closed metal ring (in 2.a) at the end?

Yes,it includes the ring.

(section: 3 / paragraph: c / line: 8 & 9)

2014-02-06 14:09 Operation definition of elasticity -> "returned to approximately its original length" - Any guidance on a % for approximately? 1%? 3%? 5%

This is up to the individual event supervisor but considering that 1% of 1 meter is 1cm, that seems like a logical "approximate range" whereas 5% of 1 meter (5cm) seems out of the "approximate range".

(section: 3 / paragraph: c / line: 9)

2014-01-23 16:13 What defines a cord/material as a self-limiting-brake mechanism?

Anything that stops the fall of the mass at a fixed distance without any apparent elasticity.

(section: 3 / paragraph: c / line: 9-10)

2013-12-23 03:15 "Self-Limiting-Brake" explained in 3.c applies to bottom 1 m of the chord or the entire length of the chord?

It applies to the bottom 1m of the cord.

(section: 3 / paragraph: C / line: 9-10)

2014-01-27 01:42 May a servo motor and battery be used to lower the mass while it was oscillating from the initial fall?

No, Para. 1 & 2 state that the team must design an elastic cord. Using a servo motor and battery is a clear violation of both General Rule #1 and #2. The spirit of the problem is clearly focused on the elastic cord design, not an electric motor.

(section: 3 / paragraph: c / sub-paragraph: i / line: 2)

2014-01-23 16:18 Does doubling up the rubber band, or putting a knot in the rubber band, constitute a physical alteration?

Yes, these are considered physical alterations and are not allowed according to rule 3.c.line 2.

2014-01-23 16:20 Is winding or unwinding the elastic cord considered a physical alteration?

Twisting like you would braid hair would be an alteration and not allowed after Impound. Coiling up like a garden hose would not be an alteration.

(section: 3 / paragraph: c / sub-paragraph: i / line: 6)

2014-01-23 16:22 Please clarify the operational definition of the elasticity of the cord. What do you mean by, “the bottom meter must stretch to at least 1.25m”?

The bottom meter of the cord (as measured in a relaxed state), must become at least 1.25m long when 500g of force is attached to it.

(section: 3 comp / paragraph: b / line: 1)

2014-01-23 16:15 Is the "drop height" measured from the top or the bottom of the bottle?

Neither, it's measured from the lowest point of the release mechanism on the top anchoring system/platform  where teams will attach their Bungee to the target landing surface.

Technical Problem Solving

Write It Do It - Div C

(section: 2 / paragraph: b / line: 11)

2014-03-09 20:13 Are abbreviations allowed to be concatenated? For example, if one has defined N = north, and E = east, is NE -> northeast valid, or will it be penalized?

Yes, this is allowed as long as each part is correctly defined.

(section: 2 / paragraph: b / line: 3)

2014-03-10 01:11 It is stated that any single letters or words may be used. However, do those words have to be in English. Specifically, are students allowed to use letter combinations that correspond to chinese characters (pinyin)?

The standard English keyboard is identified for use with all Science Olympiad tournaments. However, each tournament may - at their discretion and announcement to competing teams - provide additional or alternate languages that may be used. If the PC standard 101 keyboard is able to make Chinese characters, this would only be acceptable if the event supervisor has identified non-English language may be used. For nationals, English is the identified language. Using keyboard symbols to create non-English words will not be acceptable.

(section: 2 / paragraph: b / line: 7)

2014-03-10 01:05 In Write it Do it, it says you can use any symbols on the PC standard 101 key keyboard. On that keyboard there is an "and" symbol, can the and symbol I make look different than the one on the keyboard, or does it have to be the same?

As long as what is written is readily apparent it refers to the "and" symbol and not something else, it would be accepted. Keep in mind that the "+" is not the same as the "and" symbol.

(section: 3 / paragraph: d / line: 1-3)

2014-03-10 01:08 Will a penalty be assessed for abbreviated fractions (e.g., 1/2 for "one-half")?

No, fractions may be referenced as 1/2 or 3/4 etc.

(section: 3 / paragraph: d / line: 2-3)

2013-12-23 02:21 Is crossing out writing considered an infraction?

No, teams are allowed to use common editing symbols which includes crossing out. If the Event Supervisor thinks that there is another meaning to the crossing out such as a drawing, diagram, or code, this will be considered an infraction.

Life/Personal/Social Science

Anatomy and Physiology

(section: 3 / paragraph: b / sub-paragraph: vi. / line: 1)

2013-12-19 14:09 Are the diseases restricted to the ones listed in the parentheses, or are those simply the most important ones?

Diseases are restricted to the ones listed in the rules.

Disease Detectives - Div C

Entomology - Div C

(section: 2 / line: 2-3)

2014-03-25 15:44 Can pictures be added to the field guide? They would be glued in next to each organism that is listed in the guide.

No. Pictures, notes, drawings are not allowed to be glued into the field guide. Students may write or draw in their field guides but may not insert anything in addition to the pages and allowed tabs.

(section: 2 / paragraph: 1 / line: 1,2)

2014-01-02 02:07 Is the "one 8.5" x 11" two-sided page of information..." in addition to the official entomology list or does the list need to be included on the one 8.5" x 11" paper mentioned?

This year's rules state that the "one 8.5" x 11" two-sided page of information may include the official entomology list if the students decide to include it on their one sheet of paper. They are not allowed a separate sheet of paper with the list.

(section: 2 / paragraph: 1 / sub-paragraph: 1 / line: 1)

2014-03-10 01:27 Does "annotation" indicate that a student may write in the margins of their commercially published reference?

Yes

(section: 2 / paragraph: 1 / sub-paragraph: 1 / line: 3)

2014-03-27 19:39 Does "annotated" with reference to the commercially published resource include covering pages of the book with other printed sources of information?

No, you may not cover pages of the book with other printed sources of information.

2014-04-23 01:42 Does "annotated" with reference to the commercially published resource include covering pages of the book with other printed sources of information?

No, covering pages of the resource book with other printed sources of information is not allowed.

Designer Genes

Water Quality - Div C

(section: 3 / paragraph: c / line: 6)

2014-03-09 19:33 In the construction of the salinometer/hydrometer, would the use of a multimeter (not built by the team) in checking the electrical conductivity of a circuit (built by the team) during competition be legal?

Yes, it is okay to use a purchased multimeter as part of the device the students build provided that none of the components were manufactured to measure water quality/chemistry. They need to be able to explain how they built it.

Physical Science/Chemistry

Chemistry

Chemistry Lab

(section: 2 / paragraph: c / line: 5)

2014-01-01 20:12 The rules say, "Chemical gloves are optional, but recommended." Specifically, what are "chemical gloves"

Chemical gloves are safety gloves worn when working with potential dangerous chemicals. They usually take a while to degrade, are not easily permeable, and are strong. Most are made of Neoprene, nitrile, PVC, PVA (We should not use these), and latex.

Forensics

(section: 2 / paragraph: a / sub-paragraph: xv / line: 1)

2014-03-10 01:42 The rules state "Each student may bring one 8.5" by 11" two-sided page of notes..." do these notes need to be the same, or may each student bring a different set of notes?

No, the notes do not need to be the same, each student's notes may be different.

(section: 2 / paragraph: c / line: 5)

2014-01-01 20:12 The rules say, "Chemical gloves are optional, but recommended." Specifically, what are "chemical gloves"

Chemical gloves are safety gloves worn when working with potential dangerous chemicals. They usually take a while to degrade, are not easily permeable, and are strong. Most are made of Neoprene, nitrile, PVC, PVA (We should not use these), and latex.

Materials Science

Physics

Circuit Lab

(section: 3 / paragraph: f / line: 1)

2014-03-09 16:29 Could you please explain if dependent sources and principles of electromagnetic induction are permitted on the Circuit Lab event?

Dependent sources are covered under 3.c.i. and allowed. Inductors are covered under 3.f. and prohibited.

MagLev

(section: 2 / line: b)

2014-03-10 02:04 If there are two teams from the same school, are they allowed to impound and use the same track? Or must they construct two separate tracks?

Yes, 2 teams may share the same track.

(section: 2 / paragraph: b / line: 2)

2014-03-11 23:45 When is the mass of the car determined? Is it after a successful run or at the time when it is impounded.

Mass is determined based upon a successful run.

(section: 3 / line: 21)

2014-03-11 23:46 The rules say that brushless motors and integrated circuits are not allowed in the construction of the vehicles. Does this mean that solenoids, electromagnets, capacitors, transistors, or resistors are allowed?

Yes. General rule #2 applies: https://www.soinc.org/ethics_rules

(section: 3 / paragraph: f / line: 1)

2014-03-10 02:11 Does a 1/4" x 1/4" piece of balsa qualify as a 'dowel'?

No, a dowel by definition is a solid cylindrical rod.

(section: 4 / paragraph: c / line: 1)

2014-03-11 23:55 I know we can put magnets on the side rails as long as the distance from the top of the magnets to the top of the rail is between 2-5 cm but what about placing magnets on the outside of the rails?

Yes. General rule #2 applies: https://www.soinc.org/ethics_rules

(section: 5 / paragraph: b / sub-paragraph: ii / line: 1)

2014-03-11 23:56 During this "adjusting" time, can the mass of the vehicle be changed? (after impound)

Yes. General rule #2 applies: https://www.soinc.org/ethics_rules

(section: 5 / paragraph: b / sub-paragraph: ix / line: 21)

2014-03-11 23:58 May a run still be considered successful if the vehicle momentarily stops at some point on the track after the start line and before the 95 centimeter line, and then begins moving again so that it passes the 95 cm line?

Yes. Although note that if the vehicle stops by design for more than 3 seconds (i.e. in order to stall for time), that is not allowed as it is a potential safety hazard and is not within the spirit of the rules.

(section: 6 / paragraph: f / line: 1)

2014-03-10 02:38 Does the mass score and the time score have to come from the same successful run?

No. The mass and time scores can come from different successful runs.

Compound Machines

(section: 2 / paragraph: b / line: 1)

2013-11-06 16:42 Can a computer be used as a tool for the device testing portion of the event?

No. Computers/tablets/etc generally aren't allowed in Science Olympiad events unless explicitly permitted in the specific event rules, since they can potentially violate multiple general rules.

(section: 2 / paragraph: c / line: 1)

2013-11-06 16:51 Does the Device need to be in assembled, (ready to use condition) when it is determined if it, along with any tools and/or supplies, fits in the 100 x 100 x 50.0 cm box? Or is it permitted to be partially disassembled (such as removing the levers)...

It only needs to fit into the box at impound, however note that there isn't any explicit time stated in the rules to allow for assembly, thus it will be up to individual event supervisors as to whether time is given to all teams, or if a team must assemble during their part 2 testing time.

2013-11-06 17:01 Do students need to impound their reference material secured in a 3-ring binder?

No, only the device, tools, and supplies must be impounded. Reference materials, writing utensils, and calculators do not need to be impounded.

(section: 2 / paragraph: c / line: 2)

2014-03-09 16:32 How should teams who fail to impound their device be scored?

That is up to the individual event supervisor. It's recommended that they get a MS and TS of 0 for not making an honest attempt.

(section: 2 / paragraph: e / line: 1-2)

2014-01-02 03:07 Do students have to hang the masses from the lever, or are they allowed to set the masses on top of the lever?

General rule #2 applies, they can do either.

(section: 2 / paragraph: f / line: 3)

2013-11-01 01:14 Can the device include a mass" that is used to achieve static equilibrium befor the test masses are added?

Any masses used in this manner must be fixed in place before impound.

(section: 2 / paragraph: f / sub-paragraph: none / line: 1)

2014-03-09 16:37 Does the mass range of 50.0 grams - 1200.0 grams define both the provided/known masses and the unknown masses?

Yes, the mass ranges apply to both Known and Unknown Masses per rule 2.f.

(section: 3 / paragraph: a / line: 1)

2014-01-02 03:08 With the two levers in the device, can the levers have force transfered through other means than physical contact such as having a directional pulley (no mechanical advantage) transfer the force between the two levers?

Yes, as long as there is no mechanical advantage due to the connection.

(section: 4 / paragraph: a / sub-paragraph: iii / line: 5)

2013-11-01 01:21 Under the catagory of "Wheel& Axle", are "Belt & Pulleys" included?

Yes, Belt and Pulley sare included as part of the Pulley simple machine type for both Simple Machines and Complex Machines.

(section: 4 / paragraph: a / sub-paragraph: iii. / line: 1)

2014-01-02 03:23 If "Questions are limited to the following static equilibrium simple machines" only, will there be questions on objects that are moving or calculations of things like "kinetic energy" as the rule mentions?

Yes, there potentially could be as they apply to those machines.

(section: 4 / paragraph: a / sub-paragraph: iii5 / line: 5)

2013-11-01 01:23 Under the catagory of "Wheel & Axle", are "Gear Systems" included?

Yes

(section: 4 / paragraph: b / line: 1)

2014-01-02 03:24 Is there a standardized way that the masses are intended to be attached to the levers?

No, teams can utilize the flexible loops on the masses to hang them, or they can set the entire mass on their own hanger of some sort.

(section: 4 / paragraph: b / sub-paragraph: i / line: 1)

2013-11-06 17:17 Regarding the phrase "using an known mass and lever", are these simply the tools available to the competitor that are allowed to be used, or are the students REQUIRED to utilize the known mass to determine the unknown mass?

Yes, the rules state that students are to use both the known mass and a lever to determine an unknown mass.

2014-03-09 16:41 The device must be two levers attached, but "using a known mass and a lever" implies that you only have to use one. Can you use just one of the levers, or hang weights in such a way that calculations are reduced to the use of one?

For Division C Compound Machines, the measurement device must be a Compound Machine consisting of two levers following the construction parameters provided in Section 4.b.. You must use both levers and a hanging mass to determine the unknown mass. Using one lever is not within the spirit of the problem.

(section: 4 / paragraph: b / sub-paragraph: v / line: 1)

2014-03-09 16:50 Can the hangers that the masses are hung from, be movable? For example, can the loops of the given masses, be attached to movable ringed hooks that the students slide along the two arms of their weighing device?

Yes, as long as the hooks are only used for attachment and the entire device only uses the Law of the Lever for calculating the unknown mass. General rule #2 applies: http://www.soinc.org/ethics_rules

(section: 4 / paragraph: b / sub-paragraph: v / line: 3)

2014-01-02 03:25 Can the tools include a spring scale attached to the device (levers)?

No, a spring scale would not be within the spirit of the problem and would violate general rule #2, in addition to not abiding by rule 4.b.v. regarding using only the principles of a lever to calculate the mass.

(section: 5 / paragraph: b / line: 1)

2013-11-06 17:21 Are points to be assigned as whole points only? Rounded or truncated? For example, if the measurement takes 15 seconds, is the TS value assigned as 18 points, 18.75 points, or 19 points?

Points will be assigned to the significant figures of the measuring equipment available to the supervisors. Contact local tournaments for information to the precision of their tools.

(section: 5 / paragraph: c / line: 1)

2013-11-06 17:23 Is the Mass Score in whole points, rounded or not, or in decimal? For example, if the actual mass of the unknown was 1000g, and the calculated value was 990g, is the scored MS value assigned 29 points, 29.7 points, or 30 points?

The mass score will be decimal, based on the precision of the measurement tools used by the Event Supervisor.

Technology

Boomilever - Div C

(section: 3 / paragraph: a / line: 1)

2014-01-23 15:55 3a says that the Boolilever must be attached to the mounting hook(s). If the attachment base on the boomilever has no hole but rests against the mounting hook does that count as "attached"?

Yes, the boomilever may rest against the mounting hook.

(section: 3 / paragraph: d / line: 1)

2013-11-30 07:48 Is it 5 cm below Contact depth of actual Boomilever being tested, or 5 cm from Contact Depth line?

Please refer to the posted Rules Clarification.

2013-11-30 07:55 Does rule 3d mean that the loading block must be at or above 5cm below the contact depth before start AND during loading? For example, can the loading block be at 25cm below the center line of the hook if the contact depth=20cm? Will this depth be...

The rule does not state that the loading block must be at of above 5cm below the contact depth during the loading. Testing will continue until failure of the Boomilever which is defined in 5.f.line 3.

(section: 3g,h / line: 1)

2014-01-25 19:35 Can we use dowel joints to connect/join wood pieces in addition to adhesive? i.e. the dowel pins are made of wood.

Dowels are allowed as long as they are made of wood and meet the requirements of rule 3.g.

(section: 5 / paragraph: i / line: 2-3)

2014-03-27 19:41 What is the correct usage of the stabilization sticks (i.e. door stop end bumper only, wood dowel end only, either wood dowel or door stop end, or does not matter)?

To correctly use the stabilization sticks, the door stop end bumper should be used to touch the bucket, not the wood dowel end.

(section: 5 / paragraph: j / line: all)

2014-01-23 15:52 Please explain "Failure." Should loading stop if a piece breaks off the structure? Rule 3.a. states that it must be a single structure.

Failure is defined specifically in rule 5.j. Rule 3.a. defines the construction parameters of the structure, not what happens to the structure during loading. Therefore, if a piece breaks off the structure during loading and the structure is still supporting the load, loading will continue until failure occurs as defined in 5.j.

Mission Possible

(section: 2 / line: 1)

2014-01-27 02:02 Are lasers allowed?

No, lasers are not allowed. They are not one of the listed legal components in rule 3.i.

(section: 3 / paragraph: a / line: 1)

2014-03-12 00:44 If the device is contained within an actual cube and attached to portions of the walls and floor, will the measurement of the device include all of the structure (walls, floor, etc.) or just the portion of walls and floor used within the cube?

The measurements will be for the entire space the device takes up including the walls, floor, and any part of the device that might extend beyond these boundaries during the running of the device. Hence, during the running of the device if anything extended (even temporarily) beyond the stationary boundary the event supervisor will need to remeasure the device.

(section: 3 / paragraph: e / line: 1)

2014-03-12 00:19 What constitutes an energy transfer?

If energy is converted it is surely transferred. It can also be transferred without being converted. Energy triggers can count for points. The initial energy can trigger something to cause the next energy to release and it does NOT have to be converted to the final energy for it to count for points.

(section: 3 / paragraph: e / line: 2)

2014-01-25 19:30 May batteries receive points based on a chemical to electrical energy transfer?

No, because batteries must be factory sealed, thus there is no action you can perform to initiate the chemical energy input to the transfer and per Rule 3.g. "All scoreable actions and transfers must be visible...."

(section: 3 / paragraph: f / line: 1)

2014-03-12 22:30 3.f. allows previously used motors to be switched off. Can other previously used circuits be switched off, example, a hot nichrome wire?

Yes, as long as two actions do not contribute to the task sequence at the same time.

(section: 3 / paragraph: g / line: 1-2)

2014-03-12 22:34 Do the steps need to be visible DURING operation, or just able to be made visible to show a judge?

The rules do not say the every task must be visible to the judges during operation, but tasks need to be verifiable by a judge. If they cannot completely verify a task actually took place, then it might not be counted for points.

(section: 3 / paragraph: i / line: 1)

2014-02-11 16:03 Now that all electric components are allowed, can we use lasers?

No, Lasers are not allowed in the devices per the Science Olympiad Laser policy found on the website http://www.soinc.org/lasers The first sentence of the policy rules them out for Mission Possible, "Laser levels, pointers and other laser devices are intended to be operated under the control of a human operator at all times."

(section: 3 / paragraph: j / line: 1)

2014-01-25 20:08 Does a wing nut on a threaded rod or a string on an axle rotated by a motor count as a continuous electrical action designed to take up time, even if the action is mainly mechanical, only powered by an electrical source?

Yes, these are considered a continuous electrical action intended to take up time and is not legal.

(section: 3 / paragraph: m / line: 1)

2014-01-26 22:41 Rule 3m. states that "All batteries must be factory-sealed and voltage labeled by the manufacturer." Does this mean that (non-hazardous) home-made batteries like lemon batteries are not permitted?

Correct, any type of homemade batteries are not allowed per rule 3.m. A battery is defined as a device that utilizes a chemical reaction to generate voltage and current.  Note that chemical reactions that result in a change in resistance are allowable in devices.

(section: 4 / line: 3)

2013-11-04 02:12 Does the final task have to be an electric lightbulb?

No, but some sort of light must be switched on per rule 4.g.

(section: 4 / line: a)

2014-01-25 20:54 Who chooses what items are used for the start task and how many of each item, the event supervisor or the team members?

The team members choose what items are used and how many of each item for the Start Task.

(section: 4 / paragraph: a / line: 1)

2013-11-01 02:05 Are the objects in the start task provided by the teams or the event supervisor?

Each team brings their own items for the Start Task.

2013-11-04 02:08 What is the minimum number of golf tees, paper clips, & marbles allowed in the mixture? Would it be acceptable to use 0 of one of the items?

A mixture is an aggregate of 2 or more different substances therefore teams may use only 2 of the 3 items in their mixture.

(section: 4 / paragraph: F / line: 1 & 2 )

2014-01-27 04:04 What constitutes a "container"?

A container by definition must be capable of holding, restraining, and containing its contents (i.e. golf tees, paper clips, and/or marbles) in the container's volume or area. Containers may have modifications as long as they meet the definition of a container and comply with the rules. While the containers do not have to be removable from the device, a key test would be the question, "if the container was moved outside of the device, would the contents remain in the container?"

Scrambler

(section: 2 / paragraph: c / line: 3)

2014-02-13 14:42 Are ramps allowed this year assuming the egg starts at the starting line?

No. Vehicles are not allowed to start on ramps and the vehicle cannot be the falling mass. If the wheels are not touching the floor in the “ready to run” configuration then they would not be allowed to touch the floor after the run has begun since it would be in violation of the rules (see FAQ posted on 12/22/13).

(section: 2 / paragraph: H / line: 1)

2013-12-23 02:07 This section of the rules states that only the wheels of the scrambler can make contact with the floor. Does this mean that the falling mass can't make contact with the floor?

Only the wheels of the Scrambler and any parts of the Scrambler in contact with the floor at the ready to run configuration are allowed to contact the floor. If any piece falls off the Scrambler during the run, it is a construction violation. Therefore the falling mass cannot touch the ground at any time.

(section: 3 / paragraph: b / line: 1)

2014-02-28 17:22 It is not stated in 3.b. but I assume the actual starting line is the front edge of the 1in. tape (closest to the terminal barrier) and is the same for the .2m & 8.2m lines with the inside edge of the track tape defining the Track width.

Yes and no. The tape for the start line - correct. The other tapes are really up to the event supervisor as long as timing begins exactly 0.2 m from the start line and ends 8.2 m away from the start line. The Event Supervisor will let the team members know which edge of the tape correspond to each of the lines specified in the rules. Finally, yes the inside edge of the side tape should defined the track width.

(section: 3 / paragraph: f / line: 1)

2014-03-10 02:11 Does a 1/4" x 1/4" piece of balsa qualify as a 'dowel'?

No, a dowel by definition is a solid cylindrical rod.

Elastic Launched Glider

(section: 3 / paragraph: b / line: 1)

2014-03-14 01:53 Is plywood considered to have pre-glued joints and therefore not allowed for construction?

Plywood is not considered to have pre-glued joints, it is legal for use.

(section: 3 / paragraph: c / line: 2)

2014-01-02 00:56 May any type of thread that is conventionally used in sewing garments be used to attach the functional components of the glider to each other, namely, cotton thread, polyester thread, elastic thread and silk thread?

Yes, any type of thread may be used to attache the functional components.

(section: 3 / paragraph: d / line: 1)

2014-01-02 03:06 Is ballast that is not permanently attached to the glider allowed in order to bring an individual glider up to the 3.0g minimum weight?

Yes. If ballast falls off during the flight, timing will stop when the ballast touches the ground. Ballast does not need to be permanently attached. If the event supervisor feels ballast changes, repairs, or other modifications have potentially made the glider over or underweight, the glider should be reconfirmed prior to any remaining flights.

(section: 3 / paragraph: e / line: 1)

2014-01-02 01:14 How will the wing-span be measured?

Wing span is the projected span, wings level, projected on a horizontal plane, tip to tip. It is usually measured with a simple gage and has to pass through a 28.0 cm gap (parallel edges) without touching. Think of the gage as physically representing two parallel lines spaced 28 cm apart. Glider must pass when the tips are oriented to a plane orthogonal to both lines.

(section: 3 / paragraph: f / line: 1,2)

2014-01-02 01:11 May the gliders have a propeller on the nose of the fuselage?

Yes, A glider may have a propeller as long as there is no power source for the propeller, provided it is made from the allowed materials (3.c.), and meets the blunt nose requirement (3.f.) Also, remember elastic is only permitted as part of the launch handle and is not permitted on the glider.

(section: 3 / paragraph: g / line: 1)

2014-01-02 01:23 Can you specify what do you mean by launch handle?

A launch handle is an object attached to the elastic used to propel the glider as long as it follows the parameters defined in the rules. Examples are, but not limited to: a small stick, pencil, pen, dowel, or something more complex.

(section: 4 / paragraph: b / line: 1)

2014-01-02 01:30 Rule 4.b. states, “Once competitors enter the cordoned-off competition area to trim, practice, or compete they must ....not receive outside assistance, materials, or communication.” Does this apply to open practice the day of competition?

Yes, this rule applies to Open Practice the day of competition. The rule is specific including trimming, practicing and competing. Coaches & students are not allowed to interact in the cordoned off practice area the day of the competition.

(section: 4 / paragraph: g / line: 1)

2014-01-02 01:31 Can a launch handle/device be a freestanding structure in contact with the floor?

Yes provided it is safe and meets the size and construction requirements (3g.) and is operated by a single competitor at floor level (4g.)

2014-01-02 01:34 Can you clarify what "floor level" means?

The student must be in direct contact with the floor and not on another raised suface (chair, ladder, bleachers, balcony, etc). There is mo requirement as to posture: standing, kneeling, sitting, prone at chose of the competitor.

(section: 4 / paragraph: k / line: 2)

2014-03-09 18:56 Is your hand holding the elastic allowable as a launch handle?

Yes, your hand holding the elastic may be the launch handle.

(section: 5 / paragraph: b / line: 1)

2014-01-02 01:38 What are the exact specifications needed for a glider to be considered a Canard Configuration?

There are two horizontal aerodynamic surfaces in elastic launch gliders. The larger surface is the primary source of lift and is considered the "wing." The smaller is a stabilization source and is considered the "horizontal stabilizer." Canard configurations place the horizontal stabilizer in front of the wing (reverse that of traditional layouts.) No aerodynamic surfaces may be behind the main wing.

2014-01-02 01:56 Does a "canard configuration" refer only to the horizontal surface, i.e. can there be a vertical fin at the rear of the glider?

Yes, a vertical fin may be at the rear of the glider for a canard as long as it does not provide any lift.

2014-03-11 23:26 For the official flights if we fly both a canard and a non-canard glider, how would the total score computed? Alternatively, to compute the longest flight time would you consider 30% bonus for Canards?

Each flight will be scored and the bonus (if applicable applied) to that flight. The top 3 flights will then be added to compute the total score.

General Questions

Please do not use this form for EVENT RULE questions as they must be submitted by selecting one of the 46 events listed. This page refers to questions that apply to all events and to Science Olympiad in general. 

2008-08-21 18:11 General Rule 4 on the last page of each manual states that participants may not communicate with the outside. How will the laptops be checked to insure that their internet capability is disabled?

Event Supervisors are not willing to share their methods of insuring that students do not communicate with the outside during an event.

2008-08-21 18:12 In past years, there have been live links for the various events to access online resources. Did I miss them, or is there a change in policy?

Material on the website has been contributed by coaches, event supervisors and workshop presenters from all levels of competition. Any additional material will be posted as it becomes available. If you would like to contribute material (non-copyright) please contact the Science Olympiad National Office.

2008-08-21 18:13 When will the Rules Manual be sent?

Depends on where the order was sent, when it was sent, and if the order was received.

First check with your main/business office to determine if and when the order was sent and to whom it was sent. Do not assume that if you gave your office an order that it was sent. It often takes as much as 6 weeks before orders are approved by the school board.  If it has been more than 7 working days since your order was actually sent, you may want to call  the office that it was sent to, to determine if your order was indeed received.

2008-08-21 18:13 Where can I find answers to questions about the rules?

Answers to all questions about rules can generally be found in the Rules Manual by reading the rules carefully. The Clarifications and individual Event FAQ pages have only selected answers to corrections or common misunderstandings.

2008-08-21 18:14 Where is the best website to obtain info and materials on how to make devices for competion?

Researching information is part of the competition and is the responsibility of the contestants. Some information available from Science Olympiad on the internet can be located on the page for that event. To access event pages, go to Event Info, Division, event name.

2008-08-21 18:17 Why aren't the rules on the web?

The rules 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 Rules Manual) contribute to the revenue which keeps the organization financially sound and able to provide the high-quality educational experience that it does.

Additional copies of the Rules Manual may be purchased from the Science Olympiad store on this website.

2008-08-21 18:17 How far in advance of the regional and state tournaments are the schedules sent out so coaches can figure out student placement in events?

This depends on each tournament Director's timeline. You may need to inquire about the schedule directly with each of your directors. The very tentative national schedule is generally posted in the Coaches Manuals.

2008-08-21 18:19 If our school has two teams, are students allowed to participate with both teams?

No, students may not compete on 2 teams in the same tournament.

2008-08-21 18:20 May a 9th grader compete in both the B division and C division, since B is 6-9 and C is 9-12?

No, you must choose one or the other at a tournament.  You may not be on two rosters at the same tournament.

2008-08-21 18:21 What is the policy of using resources during competition this year?

Allowed resources are different for each event. Please read each Event Rule and the General Rules in the Rules Manual for information on using resources.

2008-08-21 18:23 May a team member participate in the state competition if they cannot participate in the regional competition?

Each tournament is independently organized. Your team may be composed of any students who meet the requirements. They do not have to be the same as those who competed in previous tournaments.

2008-08-21 18:24 I was looking for FAQs for an event, but there aren't any questions or answers for that event.

You are correct.  There are very few questions and answers posted this year because the rules have been generally well written and we have received few questions that are worthy of posting.  We are responding to all questions that come in but be aware that responses may take up to a week.    Please be sure to read the parameters that we use to decide what questions we will or will not answer. These parameters may be found at Event Info/FAQs...

2008-08-21 18:26 On what dates are the regional, state, and national tournaments, or where might I find them?

Contact your Regional and State Director for information about those tournaments. All known future National Tournament dates can be found on the "Tournaments" page on this website and in the current Rules Manual.

2008-08-21 18:49 Where are the event rules on this website? I would like to be able to print the rules instead of copying from someone else's manual.

The rules are copyrighted and may not be placed on any website. Copies of the Rules Manual containing the rules for all events are generally sent to the coach when a team is registered.  Additional copies  may be purchased from the Science Olympiad Store on this website.

2008-11-26 19:15 Why aren't the schedules for nationals, state and regionals all the same? It is very difficult to reorganize the teams at every level of competition because of time conflicts with the studied events. Why aren't all competitions required to be con...

There are 500 different tournaments with 500 different sets of unique limitations. The national schedule is posted in September. You might ask your local tournament director but keep in mind that they must build their schedules around limitations such as availability of space, event supervisors, equipment, etc.

2012-10-26 19:31 How much is the initial registration fee?

The National registration fee is $60 per team and is included in the state registration fee. Please check with your State Director to register. State websites can be accessed through the www.soinc.org

Coaching/Team Requirements

Questions on coaching a team, study resources and membership requirements.

2008-08-11 21:25 If a student no longer attends the school but is at another school that does not have a team, may she compete on our team?

No, but they are welcome to form a new team even if it is with only a few students at first. Remember that a parent, a community member or any educator, etc. may be a coach, but be sure to notify the principal and follow all of the school rules.

2008-08-11 21:27 If we qualifiy for nationals, but are short team members, may we use alternate team members to fill in?

Each tournament is independently organized. Your team may be composed of any students who meet the requirements on page 2 of the Coaches Manual and Rules. They do not have to be the same as those who competed in previous tournaments.

2008-08-11 21:46 What is the official rule on alternate team members?

There is no "official" rule on "alternate" members.  Alternates may participate only if one of the 15 regular team members can't make it the day of the competition or if a team member becomes ill or injured. Alternates may not fill in if there is a schedule conflict or if the schedule changes on the day of the competition.

Some tournaments restrict the number (if any) per team and sometimes allow them to participate in trials events and drop off impound items. Many tournaments issue and require "regular" team members to wear "hospital style" wrist bands so alternates do not "accidentally" cover for a late member.

2008-08-11 21:47 Where can I find information/help on coaching a team?

The informal Science Olympiad Coaches Discussion Group has many experienced coaches that can can offer assistance. To join go to: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/science-olympiad-coaches/

2008-08-11 21:49 Do you have to be certified to coach a team?

Science Olympiad does not certify coaches. We accept any adult that the school accepts as a coach. It does not have to be a teacher or an administrator of the school. It could be a parent or a community member. Each school may have different requirements for coaches.

2008-08-11 21:49 Are there any other places where we can get practice tests for the events?

Yes, dozens of them, but the best sources are the Test Packets from each National Tournament that can be ordered from the Science Olympiad Store. Many others are listed under event info on the National Science Olympiad website.

2008-08-11 21:51 If a school has grade levels below those designated for their division (A3-6/B6-9/C9-12), may students from the lower grades participate on a team in a higher division?

With the concurrence of your tournaments organizers, to encourage and support the inclusion of all children who wish to participate in Science Olympiad, schools with grade levels lower than those designated in a division (e.g., K-8, 3-7, 7-12) are permitted to invite members below the Division grade level designations if no other outlet (such as a division-specific team) is available. We prefer and encourage students to participate in the division that matches current Science Olympiad grade level designations. Participation is limited to age-appropriate events (as determined by a coach, principal or tournament director) and prohibited where safety is a concern (such as the use of chemicals).

2008-08-11 21:53 Where can I find answers to questions about the rules?

Answers to all questions can be found in this knowledge base. The Clarifications  and individual Event FAQ pages have been merged into this Knowledge base.

2008-08-11 21:54 May we put a team together & register outside the school, having the team made up of students from the school? May the coach be a parent or does it have to be a teacher from that school?

Any adult can be a coach (teacher, parent, administrator, previous competitor, counselor, engineer, local businessman, dentist, shop owner, rock hound, etc,). The only requirement is students must be from the same school and the principal must verify that the competitors are members of that school.

2008-11-10 21:11 Please tell me how to find and print the event rules. We are having trouble navigating the website.

The rules are copyrighted and are not placed on any website. Copies of the Rules Manual containing the rules for all events may be purchased from the Science Olympiad Store.

2008-08-11 21:21 Trial/Pilot Events

For general information and pdfs regarding trial events, please visit the Trial Events information page.

To ask questions about a Trial Event or to find out which events will be held, contact your Regional or State Director.