Science Olympiad Ways to Play Survey - Results! - September 8, 2020
Hello Science Olympiad Nation! When we announced new Ways to Play for the 2021 Science Olympiad Season, our Innovation Task Force wanted to hear from you about implementation. We polled tournament directors, event supervisors, teachers, parents and of course, students on perceptions about the coming academic year, which we understood would be fluid as the COVID-19 situation persists across the US. The Innovation Task Force compiled the two phases of results in July and August (3,500 respondents!) which informed our plans. Major takeaways included:
- The overwhelming majority of all constituencies are interested in a Science Olympiad season this year
- Students continue to prefer Traditional Science Olympiad tournaments while parents, coaches and directors continue to prefer Satellite and miniSO models equally
- Event Supervisors continue to be interested in supporting Science Olympiad regardless of the tournament model
- While there was a general decrease in the interest in Traditional tournaments from Phase 1 to Phase 2 of the survey, the interest in miniSO has increased
- Nearly 80% of coaches and parents are interested in their students being involved with the new MY SO program!
For a deep dive into the data, we've provided a handy Excel file you can download - check the tabs for Phase-over-phase results and state-by-state data. Thanks again to the Innovation Task Force for this incredible resource!
Science Olympiad 2021 Season Planning - Update - June 22, 2020
We’ve been extremely busy this spring, and we are excited to share ideas with you for the 2021 Science Olympiad season. While the COVID-19 situation still changes daily, we have laid out the most likely scenarios for where students will be learning and have developed a series of models which will allow State Chapters to start the season with enough options and flexibility to provide registered Science Olympiad teams with a good experience, no matter how local situations evolve. These models are the result of thoughtful conversations, meetings and a great sharing of ideas from everyone involved in Science Olympiad.
- 2021 Season Planner Flowchart - posted 6/22/20
- MY SO Calendar - posted 6/22/20
- mini SO Event Chart - updated 9/8/20
These new ways to play have already passed through levels of approval by the board and major stakeholder groups. Additionally, for each new way to play we have identified the conditions under which the model is most appropriate.
The dividing line between the two sides of the attached Season Planner Flowchart is whether students are learning in school or at home. For those attending school at a physical school building, there are the options of a regular Science Olympiad tournament, or the new Satellite SO. For students in distance learning mode where COVID-19 precautions are still in place, we’re adding mini SO, MY SO and the 3 C’s.
The Gold Standard – In-Person, Single-Location Tournaments
The expectation for the 2021 season is that if health conditions in your region/state allow for a traditional in-person, single-location tournament, your state chapter will provide that experience for teams, qualifying them all the way through to our 2021 Science Olympiad National Tournament at Arizona State University on May 21-22, 2021. In order to achieve this expectation, you may have to provide accommodations due to local public health regulations, and provide a COVID-19 release. We will provide you with recommendations to meet many of those regulations in our revised 2021 Event Logistics Manual.
However, we’re very aware that circumstances vary across the US, and we want to meet students and teachers where they’re at.
This new model requires student to be attending school in a physical building; it is intended for practice play and for situations where conditions in your state allow for students to be at K-12 school but large public gatherings in a single location are prohibited. Essentially, teams will take tests and record/report on their devices, either through video or written logs. This could be done synchronously, or asynchronously, on a single day after school, or over several days.
Clearly this model presents shortfalls in academic integrity and the scope of hands-on activity, but it capitalizes on the amount of time Science Olympiad teams are encouraged to spend in months-long preparation for competition – building, breaking, studying, making binders, taking quizzes, prepping log books. Teams will need to accept these limitations willingly, understand the academic honor code will be in full force, and they will need to abide by a safety agreement provided by Science Olympiad, Inc.
Event supervisors will have to be comfortable adapting how they conduct and score the events. We’ll be releasing lists of resources to make this possible but there are already tech tools that schools and teachers have been using these last few months like Zoom, Google Classroom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams and Facebook Live that have opened up new ways to communicate, learn and gather for events. States will be given the choice to run or to not run tournaments of this nature and be allowed to choose the platforms and methods of delivery they are most comfortable with.
This model is responsive to students who are still isolated in their homes and distance learning. To protect students at home without faculty supervision, we cannot allow hands-on events to be run. A chart showing acceptable events is attached. Tests can still be prepared by Event Supervisors and delivered through a variety of tech platforms, via email, or even snail mail if needed. Again, a synchronous or asynchronous model can work. We may be able to add to the list of acceptable events as the year progresses!
It's important to note that when choosing Satellite SO or mini SO for a tournament, in order to preserve as much equity as possible, all players must play the same way within a single tournament, whether it’s a Satellite SO, mini SO or an in-person, single-location tournament. We expect and understand that multiple models may be used within a state to meet varying conditions; the various options should allow you to quickly respond to a changing landscape.
We are so excited to share this new program with Science Olympiad nation! MY SO is a 9-month, calendar-based set of supports to keep students engaged in Science Olympiad at home, at school and afterschool. Each themed month is connected to a popular Science Olympiad subject like Epidemiology, Space or Structures, and will contain free resources like Lesson Plans and STEM Sessions, webinars and interviews with leading experts in the field about careers and workforce. Our top National Event Supervisors and content partners will help us bring the best of Science Olympiad to life! One Thursday a month, our website will be hosting STEM Showdowns, national-level online Science Olympiad tests students will take in real time to gauge their knowledge against their peers, complete with prizes and a national monthly leaderboard. MY SO can be used as a standalone or to support any regular Science Olympiad season. The STEM Showdowns are optional and will be single-player, single-payer.
We’ve had discussions with many of you about what it means to be part of the Science Olympiad Community over these past few months. We’ve heard stories of frank conversations with teachers who are stressed by distance learning; students who have missed their activities and friends and are struggling with mental health; campus hosts who seem to be getting a new story from their state, governor or administration on a daily basis. The bottom line is that even if school is in session, or if campuses can host us, many teams, teachers and students may just not have the ability or willingness to compete in Science Olympiad next season. Some have said, well, we might just need to go dark. We’re asking you to think differently – to use your incredible network to stay engaged.
If Competitions aren’t possible, you can still focus on 3C’s which are hallmarks of our program – Citizenship and Character in the Community. Keep in contact with your coaches; elevate the accomplishments of students who are doing amazing things. Since March, we have seen the most amazing stories of giving and compassion – students making 3D printed face shields for medical workers and face coverings for the elderly; teams setting up STEM tutoring sessions and summer camps and giving all the fees to local food pantries; a student newspaper informing the community on COVID-19 with public health stories written by Science Olympiad team members; coaches hosting Zoom sessions to celebrate the end of the Science Olympiad season and give out awards. This concept can be extended to a Science Olympiad region or chapter.
For any of the alternative models, traditional ways to celebrate Science Olympiad achievement can be used, creatively! In-person ceremonies can be replaced with livestreams or posts; medals and trophies can still be awarded/sent/picked up. We are looking forward to keeping everyone engaged and inspired!
May 2020 Update
Thank you for your support during the 2019-2020 Science Olympiad season! Although we lost the opportunity to play out the year, we were proud of how our community pulled together - even finding ways to help by making masks, 3D printing protective face shields and volunteering to raise funds for local food pantries. Keep up the good work and stay healthy!
Science Olympiad is planning to replay the 2020 Rules for the 2021 season so students can retain and reuse their resources and devices. Here's an explanation of the 2020 Rules Replay from our VP of STEM Education, the National Rules Committee Chairs and the National Executive Board.
March 14, 2020 Update
During this global COVID-19 pandemic, please take care of yourself, your family and those around you. Health is a priority. If you have the ability, please consider helping those in need in your community - we can all get through this together. We are going to need each other.
As of 3/14/20, we can confirm that nearly every state has officially cancelled all Science Olympiad events; only three events remain.
An Important Message from Science Olympiad - March 11, 2020
Uncertainty surrounding the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), the risk of transmission at large indoor gatherings, and multiple cancellations of state tournaments with more expected, has led the Science Olympiad Board along with leadership at North Carolina State University to cancel the 2020 Science Olympiad National Tournament held in Raleigh, NC, scheduled for May 15-16, 2020. According to the CDC, one of the greatest health risks is to the senior adult population, which makes up a significant portion of our teachers, coaches, officials, key personnel and volunteers. While we know this cancellation will be very disappointing to students, coaches, supervisors, and parents after all the hard work that has been put into their season, we must put health and safety first. We encourage teams to look ahead to preparations for next year. Our state leaders will focus on planning events and generating excitement for the upcoming season.
The Governor of North Carolina declared a State of Emergency on 3/10/20; a statement from NC State University prohibiting large campus gatherings was posted 3/11/20:
Check your State Websites for information about local events; as of 3/12/20, most State Science Olympiad Tournaments have also experienced campus closures leading to event cancellations.
Tournament Cancellation Official Letter for use by Airlines
Regional and State Tournament Info - see State Websites
All Tournament Winners Chart by Year
Previous National Tournament Winners Websites by Year, 1985 to now
National Tournament Scoring Policy
At the end of the Science Olympiad National Tournament Awards Ceremony each team’s head coach will be provided one copy of the final scores. Within one hour after the ceremony is completed the head coach may submit compelling evidence of a scoring inconsistency using the Team Ranking Inquiry Form. If the evidence is verified the appropriate points, medals and trophies will be awarded for that team only. Thinking that your team "did better" than scores reflect is not considered compelling evidence. Teams will not be asked to return awards or to relinquish any points. Scores for the Science Olympiad National Tournament are not official until they are posted on the soinc.org website. For more information about Science Olympiad Scoring, please visit our Policies section.