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2017-2018 Events

K = Knowledge based event, L = Laboratory event, E = Engineering event

* New Event


Retrieved from National Science Olympiad Website and Rules


Life, Personal, and Social Science

Anatomy and Physiology - This event encompasses the anatomy and physiology of selected body systems. (K)


Disease Detectives - Students will use investigative skills in the scientific study of disease, injury, health and disability in populations or groups of people with a focus on foodborne illnesses. (K)


Ecology – Students will answer questions involving content knowledge and process skills in the area of ecology and adaptations in featured North American biomes (taiga and tundra). (K)


*Herpetology  – This event will test knowledge of amphibians, turtles, crocodiles & reptiles. Teams may bring the Official National List of amphibians, reptiles and turtles (which will be posted on the National SO website). Participants should be able to do basic identification to the level as indicated on the Official List, demonstrate knowledge of anatomy and physiology, reproduction, habitat characteristics, ecology, diet etc. (K)


Microbe Mission - A lab-oriented competition where teams will answer questions, solve problems, and analyze data pertaining to microbes. (L)

Earth and Space Science

Dynamic Planet - Teams will use NGSS science and engineering practices to complete tasks related to tectonics. (K)


Meteorology - This event involves the use of process skills to demonstrate a multidisciplinary understanding of the Earth systems and anthropogenic factors that influence world climate, focusing on severe storms. (K)


Road Scholar - Teams will answer interpretive questions that may use one or more state highway maps, USGS topographic maps, Internet-generated maps, a road atlas or satellite/aerial images. (L)


Rocks and Minerals – This event will test student knowledge of rocks and minerals, including identification and classification of specimens. (K)


*Solar System -  This event will test knowledge and understanding of the geologic characteristics and evolution of the Earth’s moon and other rocky bodies of the solar system. Allowed: up to 2 sheets of paper containing notes and information from any source. Two parts: Written Test and Hands-on/Interpretive Task (K, L)

Physical Science and Chemistry

Crime Busters - Teams will identify the perpetrators of a crime or crimes by using paper chromatography and analysis of unknown solids, liquids, and plastics found at the scene of a crime. (L)


Hovercraft - Prior to the competition, teams will design, construct and calibrate air-levitated vehicles to levitate and move down a track. (E)


*Keep the Heat - Teams must construct an insulated device prior to the tournament that is designed to retain heat. Students must also complete a written test on thermodynamic concepts. Allowed: 3 ring binder containing notes and information from any source Test on thermodynamic concepts (temperature, thermal conductivity, specific heat, laws, history etc.) (K, L)


Optics - Competitors will demonstrate knowledge and process skills needed to solve problems and answer questions regarding geometric and physical optics, including the positioning of mirrors to direct a laser beam towards a target. (K, L)


*Potions and Poisons  -  This event is about chemical properties and effects of specified toxic and therapeutic chemical substances, with a focus on household and environmental toxins or poisons. Allowed: up to five sheets of paper containing notes and information from any source. Two parts: Exam (60%) and Lab Activity (40%). Sample Question: What hazardous chemical may be produced if you mix household bleach and ammonia?   (K, L)

Technology and Engineering

*Battery Buggy - This is event is similar to scrambler, but this time using an electric motor to propel the vehicle.  Teams will construct a vehicle that uses electrical energy as its sole means of propulsion, quickly travels a specified distance, and stops as close as possible to the Finish Point. (E)


*Roller Coaster -  Prior to the competition, teams design, build, and test a roller coaster track to guide a vehicle that uses gravitational potential energy as its sole means of propulsion to travel as close as possible to a target time.  This event is a brand-new event where you will construct a machine where a ball rolls on a track. The objective for the ball is to complete the track in a specific time from 25 to 45 seconds. The machine can be as big as 1 m by 1 m by 0.6 m (E)


Towers - Teams will design and build the lightest tower with the highest structural efficiency that can span a given opening meeting the requirements given. (E )


Wright Stuff - Students will design, build and test free flight rubber-powered monoplanes to achieve maximum time aloft. (E )

Inquiry and Nature of Science

Experimental Design - Given a set of unknown objects, teams will design, conduct, analyze and write-up an experiment. (L)


Fast Facts - Teams develop lists of terms that begin with a given letter to match given science categories. (K)


*Mystery Architecture - At the beginning of the event, teams will be given a bag of building materials and instructions for designing and building a device that can be tested.   This event will test your knowledge about engineering a building or structure. You will receive various building materials and you have to construct the best possible structure that can withstand a load. The event will test your application of construction methods and understanding of which structural elements to use where in a building. (L, E)


Write It/Do It - A technical writing exercise where students write a description of a contraption and other students will attempt to recreate it using only the written description. (L)