Division C Events

Earth & Space Science


(section: 2 / line: 1)

2016-02-15 18:46 Are teams allowed to use the webcam on their computer?

No. Webcams are not allowed during the competition.

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

2016-01-14 22:19 Is additional storage allowed in the form of flash drives, sd cards, external hard drives, etc. along with computers?

Yes this is allowed.

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

2016-02-09 20:29 The rules state that computers may be use as a source for information, so are tablets allowed to be used as replacements?

Yes, tablets are included in the classification of a "computer".

(section: c / line: all)

2015-10-05 15:26 The rules delineate between "objects" and "systems." Can questions be asked about associated exoplanets or stars for the "objects" listed in this year's rules, or is it limited to only the listed "object."

Yes. Systems will have questions concerning the motions and properties of both the exoplanets and their stars. The exoplanets listed as objects will be dealt with as individual objects though there is the possibility of questions concerning the effects of the exoplanets on their parent stars.

Dynamic Planet - Div C

Fossils - Div C

(section: 3 / paragraph: 1 / line: 4)

2016-03-28 21:26 On the Fossil List you have C. megalodon. Is the C for Carcharodon or Carcharocles

Carcharodon. Due to the debatable taxonomic assignment of C. megalodon to either Carcharodon or Carcharocles, questions on evolutionary history of C. megalodon should not appear on Science Olympiad fossil events. Questions about C. megalodon should be limited to the interpretation of the species.

GeoLogic Mapping

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

2016-01-16 20:24 The parameters call for a geologic compass and I'm just trying to clarify what is meant by geologic compass. Transit compass or bearing compass for maps?

Any compass that allows to take strike, dip, plunge, and trend measurements will be good. Therefore, students need a compass that, on top of indicating the magnetic North, also has a clinometer and allows sighting distant landmarks.

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

2016-01-16 20:25 Using a geologic compass is new this year. There is a wide range of models and prices. What is recommended?

All Silva compasses in the "Ranger" series provide a cheaper and good alternative to the much more expensive Brunton compass.

Inquiry & Nature of Science

Experimental Design - Div C

(section: 2 / line: 2)

2016-02-20 12:23 Can students bring a meter stick in addition to a ruler?

Yes. Each student may bring in any type of ruler.

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

2016-01-16 20:22 Rule 4.e. requests to list all materials used. Should the list of used materials be only a subset of materials provided in Rule 3.a? Should student list goggle, pen, paper, stop watch, ruler, calculator or number of participants in the experiment?

The materials list contains the equipment (e.g. stopwatch, glassware, etc.) and supplies (e.g. chemicals) used in the experiment. You should include the precision of the measuring device being used (e.g. ruler marked off in millimeters, 250 ml beaker. ) You do not need to list safety equipment, writing implements, calculators, or number of participants helping with the experiment.

Game On

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

2016-01-16 20:06 At competition, are competitors guaranteed to be provided Scratch 2.0, as opposed to previous versions of Scratch?

There is no guarantee that Scratch 2.0 version is available at all tournament venues. This is a site dependent consideration.


(section: 2 / line: b. )

2016-01-16 20:30 The rules say you get one note sheet. Does this mean front and back, or just one sided?

Students may bring one sheet, 8 1/2 x 11 inch, front and back of notes.

Write It Do It - Div C

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

2016-01-06 22:05 Do "scientific symbols" include math symbols, such as the circle symbol for degrees or the angle symbol?

Yes, these symbols are allowed as long as they fit within the context of the written description.

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

2016-01-06 22:08 May students use abbreviations that appear as keys on th standard keyboard, e.g. &, # and @ ?

Yes, this year's rules allow these types of abbreviations without defining them.

(section: 2 / paragraph: b. / line: 4-7)

2016-01-06 21:47 With the elimination of the keyboard requirement, is it acceptable to underline or circle words? What about arrows?

Yes, these are all acceptable with the new rules this year as long as they fit within the context of the written description.

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

2016-01-15 22:07 How do drawings or diagrams of items such as a compass rose, clock-face, or any other drawing or diagram be scored?

Written descriptions that contain drawings and diagrams will be ranked in Tier 2. (This is based on rule 3.d.) If the drawing depicts the model, team will be eliminated.

(section: 3d / line: 1-2)

2016-02-27 12:51 If a student writes something like "Shape the pipe cleaner in the shape of the letter 'L'." in their instructions, is that considered either a diagram or a picture of the model, with a commensurate penalty?

No it would not be considered a penalty.  Students are allowed to use letters that fit within the context of the written description.

(section: not su / line: not su)

2016-03-02 21:38 What is the penalty for writing over-time?

If a student continues writing after time has been called the event supervisor does have the authority to assess penalty points based on the level of infraction and total points (see General Rules - 1st paragraph). The team should not be Tiered or Disqualified from the event for continuing to write after time is called unless the student displays unsportsmanlike conduct. The event supervisor could also delete/cross out all of the words written by the student after time was called.

Life, Personal & Social Science

Anatomy and Physiology

Cell Biology - Div C

Disease Detectives - Div C

Invasive Species - Div C

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

2015-11-12 15:05 My question is about the official national list of invasive species. Under vids, it lists Bird Flu, H5N5. Does this mean only H5N5, or could it include other strains of bird flu? I.e., should the kids really only be researching H5N5?

Yes, H5N5 is the only Bird Flu on the National Official List. Check with your State or Regional Director if they will be using a different list.

Green Generation - Div C

Physical Science & Chemistry

Air Trajectory

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

2016-02-11 11:40 Regarding the use of electronics. Can an electric drill be brought to detach the weight and subsequently (after impound/before event) reattach the weight before launch? If so, does it need to be impounded?

Yes a drill may be used as a tool and it does NOT need to be impounded. Please keep in mind that power outlets might not be available close to the competition area.

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

2016-01-29 20:17 Can we re-inflate the air chamber after launch (ie: soda bottle, when it's crushed) using ambient air, to go back to it's original shape, or does it need to re-inflate itself?

Yes,you may re-inflate the air chamber provided the chamber is at ambient pressure at launch.

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

2016-02-09 20:08 3d states an 80cm cube may be used at "any orientation." This is not possible due to the furtherrestrictions in 4a.

Correct, if teams choose to use the max 80cm size, they are then limited in the orientations they may place the device in. Smaller devices will have more possible orientations available.

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

2016-02-20 09:39 Can the triggering device be a rope permanently attached to the mass meaning it cannot detach from the mass?

No, the triggering device separates itself from the launch device. Any parts remaining that are attached to the launching device after a shot are considered part of the launching device and must follow Rule 4c.

Correction – Yes, the triggering device may stay attached to the mass after launch.

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

2016-01-29 20:25 The rules say balls must be unmodified, but can be labeled. Can we draw lines or other markings on the balls, other than simply labeling them "ball 1"?

Yes, drawing lines on the ball can be considered labeling the ball. This will be up to the event supervisor if markings are for a labeling purposes.

2016-03-02 22:05 May beer pong balls be used as projectiles. Beer pong balls are heavier, don't bounce as much, and are less affected by air resistance and wind. Is this a valid projectile according to the rules?

The balls should be of the type listed in Rule 3f. In the case of beer pong balls, if the original packaging somewhere states they are 'ping pong' balls, they are acceptable. Teams should bring the original packaging if there is a question.

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

2015-12-14 10:24 Can the calibration of the device be electronic, if it is not a physical part of the device? (Meaning, it can be added, calibrated, and then removed before the firing of the device).

Yes, tools are allowed to be electronic. Electronic devices may only used during calibration.

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

2016-01-15 21:16 May competitors be in front of the launch area BEFORE a launch? Specifically: Are competitors allowed to walk behind targets to instruct their partner in aiming their device?

General rule #1 applies (https://www.soinc.org/ethics_rules). There is no prohibition in the rules about approaching or going behind the targets prior to a launch during their 8 min. time period (rule 4.f.) During a launch they must follow rule 4.b. Teams may be penalized if they disturb the competition area.

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

2016-03-19 20:51 Is the "sand, cat litter, or similar substance" around the target, part of the target? Should we be penalized for touching said substance?

No, there is no penalty for contacting the sand etc. The sand etc. is not part of the target. It's purpose is to identify where the projectile landed. Teams should avoid touching it though as it could cause a false mark to appear that makes it difficult for the event supervisor to measure the point of impact.

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

2016-01-14 22:09 Can competitors use a laser as a material to help with setup, adjustment, and calibration of the device? General rules about laser use will be followed and the laser impounded.

Yes, lasers may be used as a tool for setup, adjustment, & calibration of the device. They must be removed prior to launch. The laser policy posted on the National website must be followed.

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

2016-01-15 21:17 Is a rope which extends from the device to the target considered a calibration tool?

A rope can be considered a calibration tool as long as it is removed from the device during each launch.

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

2016-02-09 20:24 If a team qualifies for 2 bucket shots, must the bucket shot be constant for both shots or could the event supervisor select different locations for each bucket shot?

There is only 1 location for the bucket which is the same for all teams and all launches.

(section: 4. / paragraph: e. / line: 2-5)

2016-01-15 21:26 The rule says a distance of at least 2.00 m must separate the targets. If the near target is on the 2 m centerline would it be legal for the far target to be 2m to the right or left perpendicular to the centerline 2 m mark?

Yes, that is allowable.

Wind Power - Div C

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

2015-11-12 15:39 Is the CD that the blades are mounted to only held on to the generator by the detent balls on a CD player or can extra support be provided such as double sided adhesive tape to strengthen the joint?

Yes, as long as the tape is easily removable and does not impact other subsequent teams' testing.

2016-03-04 16:07 Can holes be drilled in the CD such that the blades can be affixed to the CD with plastic nuts and bolts?

Yes, as long as the holes are filled with a fastener used to attach a blade. No holes or slots may be used for the purpose of reducing the mass of the CD.

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

2016-03-29 12:43 If the CD is sanded to create a rough surface so that it can bond/glue strong and firm to the blades, would this be considered a "modification of a CD"?

No, this would not be a modification of the CD. Light sanding to create a rough surface for gluing purposes only where the blade is mounted is fine. Sanding the whole CD is not allowed. The local event supervisor will determine if a modification has been made to the CD.

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

2016-03-29 12:34 The Rules state no part of the blade assembly may extend BEHIND CD for 3cm. This has been interpreted to mean that blades cannot be within 3cm both IN FRONT and BEHIND.

The limitation is only for the side of the CD that is facing the motor/generator.

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

2016-03-04 15:54 At what time in the testing is the final position of 5cm to be measured and Is this a construction violation ?

It will be measured just prior to the measurement period starting. The measurement period will not begin if it is closer than 5cm. There is no other penalty.

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

2016-03-04 14:58 May students push the blades by hand to initially get them spinning (if necessary) in the testing period, prior to the declared measurement period.

Yes, see 4.f. They may push the blades by hand to initially get them spinning but they may not touch the blade assembly during the measurement period.  and initially get them spinning.

(section: 4 / paragraph: l / sub-paragraph: ii / line: 1)

2015-11-12 15:35 Rules state that "Power generator general questions...."Does this refer to the general question of how electrical power is generated in each of these types of power plants or specifically to the generator itself?

Anything related to power generators in general is a valid question, which could include aspects of the power plants.

(section: 4.f. / line: 5)

2016-03-29 12:25 If during the 3 minute testing period, but not yet in the 30 second measurement period, the whole blade assembly fall off the mounting equipment provided by the event supervisors, can the students reattach their blade assembly?


It's About Time

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

2016-01-16 20:44 Will 3D printed parts used to construct a clock be allowed?

Yes, as long as you design the part to be constructed as stated in rule 3.b. You may not have a predesigned part constructed on a 3D printer and used in your construction. General rule #1 applies (https://www.soinc.org/ethics_rules), as long as the designs were not commercially acquired. Competitors should be prepared to demonstrate to the local event supervisor this fact.


Protein Modeling

Chem Lab

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

2015-11-12 14:10 Does Ti- inspire count as non-camera capability calculator?

Yes, the TI-Nspire does count as a non-camera capability calculator. It can be used in the Chem Lab SO competition.

Technology & Engineering

Bridge Building - Div C

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

2016-02-27 09:53 Can the Test Support block be anywhere in the loading zone, for example, slightly behind the 35 cm line if necessary?

Per rule 5.b.ii. Teams may place the Test Support in one of the Bearing Zones, it does not need to be exactly on the 35 cm line.

(section: 3 / paragraph: e / sub-paragraph: N/A / line: N/A)

2015-10-29 14:14 Does this mean that the loading block shall be aligned with the centerline of the test base, or is it acceptable for the loading block location to be off to one side as long as it allows for the chain pass through the 20cmx20cm opening of the test?

The loading block is to be aligned with the centerline of the test base which would be the center of the Bridge span when it is placed on the Test Support on one side and the Bearing Zone of the Test Base on the other side.

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

2016-03-02 22:14 Is it legal to have felt marker markings on your bridge as a result of component mass recording and construction assistance lines?

Yes, this is allowed.

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

2015-10-29 14:24 Will the 5 by 5 block be secured to the testing apparatus?

No, the 2 cm x 5 cm x 5 cm block will not be secured to the Test Base.

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

2015-10-12 20:36 If the bridge is loaded not to failure of the bridge, but rather the test support falls over, how will the bridge be scored (will there be a second try) ?

If the test support falls over, loading will stop and the weight held at that time will be used to calculate the final score. There will not be a second try at testing the bridge.

Electric Vehicle

(section: 2 / paragraph: b,c,d / sub-paragraph: n/a / line: 4,6-11)

2016-03-02 22:20 Is it legal for one battery to provide all electrical energy to the motors, but another to power an aurdino, controlling an array of electronics, including motor shields and relays, switching main power on & off from the battery pack to the motors?


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

2016-03-02 21:50 Can a step up transformer be used to increase the voltage from 7.2v battery so that it will run a 12V motor?

Yes, this would be allowed.

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

2016-01-18 11:20 The rules state that additional energy storage devices may be used to operate other functions provided they don't help propel the vehicle. Would additional energy storage devices be allowed for a microprocessor (ex. Arduino) that controls the motor?

Batteries used for non-propulsion purposes would not count toward the maximum number of batteries in 2.c. Anything contributing to controlling the motor would be considered to be contributing to propulsion.

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

2015-11-12 14:15 Can the motor controls contain capacitors (energy storage devices) that are verifiably fully discharged at ready-to run ?

Yes, as long as the capacitors are discharged before the run and any electrical power in the capacitor after the discharge comes from the allowed batteries/cells, then they are allowed.

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

2015-11-12 20:58 The rules say any electronic components are allowed, does this include encoders?

Yes, encoders are allowed.

(section: 4 / line: para.4)

2015-11-12 14:26 Can the vehicle stop (not a "complete stop"), but then go backwards or forwards slowly to get the dowel on to the target point between 9 and 12 meters?


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

2016-01-18 11:12 May a computer be used as a tool?

Yes, provided the computer only connects to the vehicle between runs and not during the run, it is considered a tool.

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

2016-02-20 13:11 Are competitors allowed to walk behind target to instruct their partner in aiming their vehicle?

Yes, but they must be behind the start line during each run.

(section: 4 / paragraph: h / line: 19)

2015-10-09 18:37 Does the restriction on sighting, aiming, and guiding devices mean that we can't use a laser pointer to guide our device DURING THE RUN? (rather than, right before we start).

Yes, laser pointers are always to be controlled by human operators (see the general SO policy on lasers at https://www.soinc.org/lasers ) and the vehicle must run autonomously, so laser pointers must not be used during a run.

Robot Arm

(section: 3 / line: 2)

2016-03-04 14:23 Can end effectors be controlled by a servo such as a claw or a mechnical grip?

Yes. Key to passive is that when detached the end effector may not move or perform functions on its own. In other words, you may not drop off a little car that moves around the field on its own to move an object. It also should not have its own stored source of energy.

(section: 7 / paragraph: b / line: 1)

2016-03-15 08:30 The rules state that each item must be "completely supported by the Goal Carton". If the item is in a detachable passive end effector in the goal carton, is it still scored?


2016-03-15 08:35 What is the definition of "fully supported by the Goal Cartons"?

Completely supported means that ultimately, the weight of the object is transferred to the playing field only by passing through the egg carton. So if an end effector, other object etc is itself fully supported by the carton, another object fully supported by one or more other object fully supported by the egg carton is considered supported by the egg carton even if it does not touch the egg carton. Note, if this interim object is supported by two egg cartons, any object supported by it is NOT fully supported by any one carton and would not be scored in a carton.

(section: 7 / paragraph: i / line: 1)

2016-03-15 09:11 Do the dice count towards the second tie breaker?

No. The items are defined in para 5d and do not include the dice. The dice are listed in para 5e and are not part of the items. Therefore the dice do NOT count towards the second tie breaker.

Wright Stuff

(section: 4 / paragraph: c / line: 1, 2)

2016-03-02 12:27 If the students are registering 2 gliders or planes, does each glider or plane need its own flight log?

No, each glider or plane does not require its own flight log. The purpose of a flight log is to keep a continuous record of all flights of the gliders or planes you have built and tested.