Discover Science Olympiad
What Is Science Olympiad?
Science Olympiad is a national K-12 STEM education non-profit on a mission to inspire student to pursue STEM pathways and to support teachers and coaches. Our team STEM competitions for middle and high school 1) run in all 50 states + DC, 2) are usually held on college campuses and 3) are really, really fun!
Think of the excitement of a track and field meet, but instead of long jump and hurdles, students engage in lab experiments, astronomy tests, and rubber-band-powered airplane flights. Students work in pairs to prepare for and compete in tournaments, building real-world skills like collaboration and resilience alongside foundational STEM skills. In the 2022 school year, more than 5,500 teams competed in 425 Science Olympiad tournaments.
Member Data Infographic - 2022 Season
Unlike single-discipline competitions or programs, Science Olympiad touches every letter in STEM, from life science to manufacturing to engineering. Our participants perform the types of interpretation, design, application and assessment that professional scientists do every day in the field, lab, or policy board room.
All teams register through their State Chapter website.
- See > the 2023 Events
- Understand > Program Progression
- Learn > how Volunteers enable SO success
- Read > the Brochure - new for '23
- Watch > the Hype Reel - new for '23
- Review > Science Olympiad Policies
- September - Rules Manuals released the Tuesday after Labor Day; signaling the start of the SO season!
- October to January - Teams meet after school to work on Event prep, utilizing the expertise of their faculty/staff coach, volunteers and mentors and free study resources found on the SO website. Some teams compete in Invitational Tournaments which provide valuable practice and team selection insights.
- January to April - Teams compete in qualifying Regional Tournaments; winners advance to State.
- May - State winners advance to the Science Olympiad National Tournament, held on a different major college campus each year.
- Division: Each segment in K-12 has a Division: A = Grades K-6, B = Grades 6-9, C = Grades 9-12
- Team: A group of students enrolled at the same school who prepare for competition and are led by a faculty coach. A max of 15 students per team are allowed to compete at a tournament; some states allow multiple teams per school.
- Event: A competitive activity that students prepare for throughout the season and compete in at tournaments. Division B and C each have 23 events across the STEM spectrum.
- Event Rules: The specs for each event, including the topics included on tests, device measurements, allowable materials, etc.
- Mentors: Volunteers from the school and community who assist the team coach in prepping for competition
- Event Supervisors: The volunteers - many of whom are STEM industry, government or academic professionals - who create the tests or challenges at tournaments (based on the Event Rules) and act as judges, scorers and proctors.
- Tournaments: Teams compete at Invitational, Regional, State and National Tournaments, depending on qualification and advancement. These events are run by State Chapter and the National Office.
Connection to Academic and Workforce Goals
Educators love Science Olympiad because it gives them an avenue for cross-curricular and connected student learning. Science Olympiad supports your school's STEM goals through:
- Deep dives into STEM content and opportunities to explore college and career pathways
- Student-led hands-on learning, assisted by coaches and mentors
- Challenging afterschool enrichment aligned to Next Generation Science Standards and Career and Technical Education goals
- Soft skill development including communication, teamwork, leadership and grit
"This past year, watching my students ask the deep questions, try, fail, and then try again inspired me daily. I am proud when I see them light up as they start to envision where they want to be." Danielle Hibbs, Science Olympiad Coach, Southwest Bulloch HS, Brooklet, GA, 2022 Science Olympiad Coaching Excellence Award Winner
Science Olympiad partners love Science Olympiad because we help fill their future educational and workforce pipelines. Program alums follow STEM pathways through college and into the workforce, becoming researchers, innovators, entrepreneurs and policy makers, in addition to lifelong STEM enthusiasts.
"Corteva Agriscience is a proud supporter of Science Olympiad because we believe their students are the next research scientists, engineers and agricultural professionals who are going to bring our industry into the future. These students are passionate about learning and they are developing valuable skills that will benefit the entire STEM community." Dr. Ronda Hamm, Global Academic Relations, Corteva Agriscience
See our Research Studies and Workforce pages for more!
- Check out our Start A Team Page
- Consider purchasing the Science Olympiad Coaching Program, a 26-week curricular approach to coaching a Science Olympiad team filled with excellent resources for coaching a team, including lesson plans, handouts and worksheets
- Attend one of our many State Workshops, our Workshop Wednesday webinars or attend the Science Olympiad Summer Institute