Missouri State University

Getting Started - General Information

What is Science Olympiad?

This isn’t your typical science fair! (For that, go here.) Much like the Olympics, Science Olympiad is a competition where teams of students test their knowledge, teamwork, and critical thinking skills against their peers. Olympiad spans many STEM disciplines, such as Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Engineering, and more. For a full list of events, and the broad categories they fall into, see the Events page. Many of the events focus on a hands-on approach, such as a lab-based stations, while others incorporate knowledge-based tests.

Students don't prepare for Olympiad by designing and carrying out a prior experiment, but by training in one of the 23 events held during the competition. Schools will assemble a team of up to 15 students to take part in the events, typically designed for groups of two. Most events run in 50-minute blocks, so students and teachers must plan strategically for which events each group will compete in, as it will take a coordinated effort by all 15 to attend every event. Overall placement in the competition is determined by a cumulative total of the scores from each individual event. Winners are granted the opportunity to participate at the state-wide competition later in the year.

Where and When is Science Olympiad?

Missouri is divided into eight Olympiad regions, with the largest competition being right here at Region VII! Our region is comprised of the entire SW Missouri area (pictured right). If your middle-school or high-school falls within these counties, you're in the right place. If you are in a county outside Region VII, you can find your region here. Region VII Olympiad is hosted by and held on the campus of Missouri State University in Springfield, MO.

The College of Natural and Applies Sciences hosts the events at MSU, with most of the events being based in Temple and Kemper halls. For more information on the Olympiad at MSU, see the Regional Info page.

Olympiad in Region VII is almost always held on a Saturday at the end of February. This date is chosen because it allows finalists time to prepare before the state-wide competition, as well as time to participate in other spring competitions.

Building Your Team

There are two levels of competition in Science Olympiad: B Division is junior high/middle school, grades 6 - 9; C Division is high school, grades 9 - 12. While 15 students is the maximumum per team, there is no firm minimum. Each school can have more than one team entered in a division, but only one team per school can go on to the state competition.

To participate at any level of competition, you must register your team with the state office. There is a per-team registration fee. Once paid, you will receive a booklet of every event for the current year, with detailed rules so you can begin preparing. Historically, this is made available at the start of October for the following year's competition.

Once you register with the state office, you'll also need to register for the Region VII tournament. Typically, registration for Region VII comes online between Halloween and Thanksgiving. When it does, there will be a link on the Region VII homepage. This is when you can actually see the event schedule, and decide which groups of students will participate in which events.

What to Expect from Events

Every year, the National Science Olympiad committee meets to decide which events will comprise next-year's competition. While there are always 23 events, the exact makeup is never the same. Typically, the event rotation can be classified into one of a few categories:

  • the same event as last year, in the same division, with a rule change.
  • the same event as last year, but in different division.
  • an event from a many years ago, put back into rotation.
  • a completely new event.

The YouTube playlist below is taken from the official Science Olympiad website, and gives several examples of what an event looks like:

In addition to the official website, there are many resources online for previous years' Olympiads, and what schools across the nation did to prepare. I would encourage all new coaches to seek out old event videos, tests, diagrams, etc. to get a feel for each event.

Important: If you don't have a full team of 15, and still want to participate, you can register for just the events in which your students are interested. (While your team may rank in an individual event, teams without groups participating in every event are unlikely to place overall.)

Practice is crucial to success! Begin meeting with your team as often as you feel is appropriate, as soon as you receive your event books.

Who to Contact for More Information

As Director of Region VII, you can contact me with any questions you might have regarding Olympiad. My contact information is listed at the bottom of every Region VII Olympiad page, as well as on the State Olympiad website. I encourage every prospective or new coach to touch base with me in the fall. If you make the decision early enough, there is a coachs' clinic held (usually in October) at the site of the state competition, Westminster College. The clinic will go over rule technicalities and is a good opportunity to talk with other coaches and the directors.

If you have a question regarding state registration, payment, or rule technicalities, you should direct your questions to the State Director, Patty Palmietto. She can be reached via the State website above.

Finally, I encourage all coaches to explore this website, and the State and National Olympiad websites.

Contact Info

Ben Dalton
Region VII Director

Want to Contribute?

The Region VII Science Olympiad tournament operates primarily on a small donation from the College of Natural and Applied Sciences at Missouri State University.

If you would like to support the young minds in your area by contributing donations through the Missouri State University Foundation, please contact Ben Dalton for more information.


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