Get ready! The Idaho Science
Olympiad will be held on
Saturday, April 11, 2015
at Northwest Nazarene University
(NNU) in Nampa.
Science Olympiad Site at NNU
The National Science Olympiad Site www.soinc.org
What is it?
The Science Olympiad is a national science
competition for junior and senior high school
students. Like the Olympics for which it is named,
the Science Olympiad consists of many different
events. Students, in teams of up to fifteen,
compete in as many events as possible. This year’s state competition will occur
on Saturday, April 11, 2015 at
Northwest Nazarene University. Students in the 6th through 9th grades
are eligible to compete at the junior high or
“B” level. Students in the 9th through 12th grades
compete at the senior high or “C” level.
Excitement and Fun
The Science Olympiad puts science in the context
of team-oriented competition.
The thrills, excitement, and suspense all
combined in a festival atmosphere add a life to
science that is seldom seen. Students prepare for one or more of the
possible twenty-three events in small groups
under the guidance of a teacher or parent
volunteer. The small group allows friends and
buddies to prepare together while working in the
context of a larger team of up to fifteen
St. Joe’s has had a strong Science Olympiad program
for many years. The current Science Olympiad State
Director, Gary Carlson, is a past St. Joe’s
parent. He guided the school’s program for
several years. Our middle school Science teacher
and Science Olympiad Head Coach, Mary McClure,
has led St. Joe’s to winning state competitions
in 2002, 2003, 2005 through 2011 and 2014.
Our school then went on to represent
Idaho at the national competitions.
This year we have a record number of
students participating in Science Olympiad: 8
teams and 100+ students.
Choosing an Event and Team Placement
At St. Joe’s all 7th and 8th
graders have the option of participating in
either Science Fair or Science Olympiad.
All 6th graders participate in Science Fair
which is held each year in December here at St.
seventh and eighth grade students who choose
Science Olympiad are required to participate in
at least 3 but not more than 4 events. Events have been assigned taking into
account the students’ preferences. The students have been divided into teams
of not more than 15 based upon the following
factors: grade, experience, and past
performance. The final decision on team rosters
and student placement was at the discretion of
the Head Coach. Team rosters have been posted. A school team may compete in as many or
as few events as they want. For maximum team points, a team should
try to compete in as many events as possible. Gold, silver, and bronze medals are
awarded to students based on their performance
in a particular event. Thus, it is quite possible for a small
team to win medals in the events in which they
have competed. Team size or event coverage by a team
does not limit the achievement of the individual
Most of the event coaches are parent volunteers.
At St. Joe’s, we are very fortunate to have
several returning coaches; however, there are
still events that need a coach. A parent does not need to be an expert in
a particular field to help a student prepare for
Also, this year we would like to get
assistant coaches for each event. If you have an interest in coaching,
please let Mrs. McClure know as soon as
possible. For a few events, coaching is scheduled
to begin in December while the remainder will
start in January.
A monthly newsletter will be posted on the St. Joe’s
If you have any questions, please contact
Mary McClure 342-4909, email
email@example.com. Also, you can check out the Idaho
Science Olympiad site at
www.nnu.edu/2535 or the national site
Frequently Asked Questions about St. Joseph’s
Science Olympiad Program
How are Science Olympiad
A1: The following factors are taken into
consideration to initially divide the teams up:
Grade, Experience, and Previous
Performance. The final decision on team rosters and
student placement will be at the discretion of
Mrs. McClure (the Head Coach). For example, the varsity team will be
composed of older students who have performed
well in previous SO competitions. The six graders will typically be on
their own teams.
Can you mix grades
within the same team?
the criteria for dividing the teams up usually
results with teams of combined seventh and
Can students change
under strict conditions:
A: The Head Coach needs to agree, B:
The student has to agree, and C: No other
student can be displaced from an event on the
If St. Joes wins state,
who determines who goes to the national
question is up to each school. At St Joe’s the selection of the national
team will be based on the following criteria: A:
Achievement at the state competition, B:
Participation in event preparation, and C:
Commitment to prepare for nationals.
The Head Coach will determine the
ultimate selection of the national team and
How many events must a
This year all seventh and eighth St. Joe’s SO
students must participate in at least three and
preferably not more than four events. The purpose here is for the team to
compete in all the events if possible, but not
over-burden the student or allow one student to
Who are the event
coaches and when/ where will the coaching be
of the coaches are parent volunteers. Each coach determines when and where
coaching sessions will occur. For most events, coaching is done at St.
Joe’s after school and usually on a weekly
basis. However, some coaches hold sessions at
lunch, before school or on weekends. Your child will be notified when/where
coaching will take place either by the coach or
by a posting in the Science room.
What if there is not a
coach for an event?
has happened and a student wishing to
participate in that event must study on his or
her own and solicit help where they can.
What if no one on a team
participates in an event?
event will go unfilled by the team.
In such a case we encourage students to
walk into that event “cold” just to salvage a
Note, however, that due to prior
dissatisfaction, we do not allow a walk-in score
to count towards membership on the national
team. A student should be signed up a month in
advance, or a last minute fill-in for a sick
teammate to count that score for the national
How are events assigned
students sign up for their favorite three or
four events. If there are not too many students vying
for that event, then they own it.
Can my student compete
on more than one team?
A10: No. National rules strictly prohibit this.
My student just found
out that she signed up on the same event as Joe
Blow (who is a real slacker).
They are the only two on
that event and she will end up stuck with him as
What should we do?
Learn to work with Joe the best she can. The best case is to learn how to work
with the many types of people that you will
encounter in life.
My student is a whiz at
He would do better
operating solo since another student would just
slow him down.
Working with others is part of the SO. Your student may end up tutoring or
helping the partner he gets “stuck” with. He may also end up learning patience,
perseverance and a few other virtues.
My student’s partner
just dropped out.
Now my student is all
What do I do?
Recruit a friend or just bring along another
teammate for company.
When and where will the
state Science Olympiad competition be held?
2015 Idaho State Tournament will be held on
April 11, 2015 at Northwest Nazarene
University in Nampa, Idaho.
When and where is the
2013 national competition?
The 2015 Science Olympiad
National Tournament will be held at
the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, Nebraska