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If you've found this site, you've already shown that you're interested enough in Science Olympiad to look a little further.  You're wondering -- what's Science Olympiad like?  Is it right for me?  Will it help my grades?  Will I make new friends?  Will I get into a better college?  Listen to what kids your age have to say about Science Olympiad.

  • Asia, a 9th grader from Georgia: "Science Olympiad helped me decide that I wanted a career in the medical field.  I loved Disease Detectives!"
  • Paige, a 7th grader from Indiana: "Science Olympiad helped me form new interests and gave me a head start in school by teaching me new material and giving me new study skills."
  • Julia, a college freshman from Colorado: "I chose to study mechanical engineering because of Science Olympiad.  It was my most important and time-consuming extracurricular activity throughout high school.  I met a lot of my closest friends through the SO team.  It was a wonderful experience and my favorite part of high school!


The Science Olympiad was created in 1983 by Dr. Gerard J. Putz and Jack Cairns to increase interest in science and as an alternative to traditional science fairs and single-discipline tournaments. Now, Science Olympiad has members in all 50 states, totaling more than 12,000 actively participating K-12 schools and almost 200,000 students.

The Tournament

national medalsScience Olympiad competitions are like academic track meets, consisting of a series of 23 team events, which are performed by a small group, usually two team members.. Each year, the selected subset of events is rotated to reflect the ever-changing nature of genetics, earth science, chemistry, anatomy, physics, geology, astronomy, mechanical engineering and technology.

Each team of 15 will prepare throughout the school year to compete in Science Olympiad tournaments held on local, state and national levels. Unlike some science competitions, Science Olympiad requires that students DO science during the competition rather than just report about a science project.  By combining events from all disciplines, Science Olympiad encourages a wide cross-section of students to get involved. Emphasis is placed on active, hands-on, group participation.

Types of Events

Events in the Science Olympiad have been designed to recognize the wide variety of skills that students possess. While some events require knowledge of scientific facts and concepts, others rely on science processes, skills or applications. This ensures that everyone can participate, including students from technology classes or advanced science classes.

Lab-based events are those like Chemistry Lab, Forensics, or Can't Judge A Powder By Its Color, which require students to complete a lab activity during the competition.

Research based events events are those events like Astronomy, Disease Detectives, and Fossils, which encourage students to prepare research materials prior to the competition and use them in the event. 

Pre-built events are engineering events in which students build a device, such as a bridge, rocket, or robot, to accomplish a task or goal, and the device is tested on-site at the competition.

Team Spirit

olympiad 011Although some events in the Science Olympiad are based on individual achievement, all events involve teamwork, group planning and cooperation. That is the real essence of the Science Olympiad. Our emphasis is on advanced learning in science through active, hands-on, group participation. Through the Olympiad, students, teachers, coaches, principals, business leaders, and parents are all bonded together as a team working toward a goal.

We would like to provide an alternative to the "isolated scientist" stereotype and remind students that science can be fun, exciting and challenging all at the same time. In college and beyond, students will find that the team spirit and good sportsmanship they develop during Science Olympiad will be deciding factors in their success.

Our Goals

The Science Olympiad is devoted to improving the quality of science education, increasing student interest in science and providing recognition for outstanding achievement in science education by both students and teachers. We hope to achieve these goals through participation in Science Olympiad tournaments, classroom activities, and training institutes for teachers. We also hope that our efforts can bring academic competition to the same level of recognition and praise normally reserved for athletic competitions in this country.

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